Moldova today became the first country in the European region to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX initiative.
Chisinau, 4 March 2021 - Today Moldova received 14 400 doses of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. Moldova is the first country in Europe to receive vaccines from the COVAX facility.
The arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of anti-COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals in Moldova that will continue in the coming days and weeks.
”We are the first country in Europe to receive a free vaccine through the COVAX platform and we are grateful for that. The 14,400 doses of Covid-19 vaccine will help us continue to immunize medical staff and reduce the spread of the virus. We thank all the states and organizations that support financially this global platform - Germany and other EU Member States, the United States, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, the European Commission, Japan and others - for their solidarity in these difficult times for all. We also thank WHO and UNICEF for their efforts to distribute the vaccines fairly,” said Maia Sandu, the President of the Republic of Moldova.
The COVAX Facility is expected to deliver 24,570 doses of BioNTech- Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and up to 264,000 indicative doses of AstraZeneca / SKBio COVID-19 vaccine to the Republic of Moldova in 2021.
Team Europe, bringing together EU and its Member States, is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million recently pledged by Germany.
“The European Union continues to support the Republic of Moldova in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. An equitable and fair access to vaccines is a key element in ending the pandemic. The European Union and its Member States, acting together as 'Team Europe' are proud to support COVAX in delivering vaccines to our partners and today we see the first vaccines via COVAX platform arriving in the country. This is an important support for continuing the vaccination and the EU has been and will continue to be a reliable partner in this process,” said Peter Michalko, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.
On February 18, 2021 the United States pledged the initial $2 billion - out of a total $4 billion planned - to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the global vaccination effort for COVID-19.
”Through USAID, the United States contribution of more than $2 billion dollars to the COVAX Vaccine Alliance supports the purchase and delivery of safe and effective vaccines for Moldova’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers. These vaccines are critical to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and delivering hope that better, happier days are within sight,” said Dereck J. Hogan, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UN Moldova offered immediate support to the country, providing assistance in three main areas: health system preparedness, technical support and capacity building, and information and communication on COVID-19.
WHO leads the support of the country’s preparedness to receive and administer vaccines.
“Vaccines will be a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19: It is encouraging to see so many vaccines in development. Working as quickly as they can, scientists from across the world are collaborating and innovating to bring us tests, treatments and vaccines that will collectively save lives and end this pandemic,” said Dr Igor Pokanevych, WHO Representative in the Republic of Moldova. ”However, vaccines alone will not end the pandemic. Ongoing public health measures to prevent transmission will still be needed alongside vaccination, including adhering to testing and quarantine measures, mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing.”
UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of anti-COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.
“Vaccines are among the greatest advances of modern medicine. Sustainable supply of the vaccines is the only way out of this crisis, to ensure that vaccination is available for all,” said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Moldova Country Representative. “UNICEF looks forward to these vaccines being made available to the people most at risk, and to further ensuring that routine immunization services for other life-threatening infections are not disrupted.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 180,000 Moldovans, including more than 10,000 children and more than 800 pregnant women, were infected with the virus and over 4,000 lives were lost because of Covid-19 infection.
The virus was confirmed to have reached the Republic of Moldova(link is external) on 7 March 2020, when a Moldovan woman that returned from Italy was tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Romania shipped the first donation of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Moldova on 27 February, allowing Moldova to start vaccinating frontline medical workers on 2 March.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator(link is external), is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries. COVAX has built a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations, and is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the globe in 2021, including at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses to the 92 lower-income COVAX Facility participants supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC.
The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.
For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int(link is external) and follow WHO on Twitter(link is external), Facebook(link is external), Instagram(link is external), LinkedIn(link is external), TikTok(link is external), Pinterest(link is external), Snapchat(link is external), YouTube(link is external)
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Moldova, visit www.unicef.md(link is external). Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here(link is external), or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here(link is external).
About Team Europe
The EU's response to the coronavirus pandemic follows a ‘Team Europe' approach, aimed at saving lives by providing quick and targeted support to our partners to face this pandemic. It combines resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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