COVAX shipped over 36M doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 86 countries

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Workers transfer boxes of COVID-19 vaccines from the vaccine-sharing COVAX initiative at Abidjan International Airport in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Feb. 26, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

COVAX, a World Health Organization-led initiative aimed at ensuring equal access to COVID-19 vaccines by various countries, has so far shipped more than 36 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 86 countries, a UN spokesman said Monday.

"Algeria received more than 36,000 doses over the weekend from COVAX. These doses will help accelerate the vaccination campaign already underway in the country," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told the regular press briefing.

He cited Eric Overvest, UN Resident Coordinator in Algeria, as saying that "the new doses will help ensure that no one is left behind. Our teams on the ground have helped to train healthcare workers, sensitize people on vaccines, and supported the cold chain."

In Laos, the country has vaccinated more than 4,000 people, including frontline healthcare workers, with doses received from COVAX. The UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator Sara Sekkenes Tollefsen, is supporting the country's vaccination campaign, which kicked off on Friday, according to the spokesman.

So far, the country has received more than 130,000 doses, with another 350,000 expected to arrive next month, Dujarric added.

"The goal is to vaccinate 20 percent of the population -- that's around 1.6 million people -- this year. The UN team helped procure syringes and other materials, and we are also supporting efforts to ensure that people can continue access to healthcare services," he said.

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