Globe Live Media, Friday, January 29, 2021

The UN Children’s Fund, the world’s largest single buyer of vaccines, expects an “explosion” in demand for COVID-19 injections in the first half of 2021, said the UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, who stressed that the situation will change in the second semester.

In an event organized by the World Economic Forum, Fore said that UNICEF is buying refrigerators to reinforce cold chains and making other preparations for the distribution of vaccines in poor countries, where the challenges are “enormous.”

“We now have overwhelming demand in the first half of the year, and from the looks of it from a manufacturing and availability point of view, in the second half of the year we are going to have supplies available,” Fore said. “So the schedule is a big problem and a big question, but it gives us time to plan.”

With the distribution of vaccines through the COVAX program, UNICEF expected to double its procurement of vaccines to 4 billion doses this year, including those for childhood diseases, she said.

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