Press Release

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines shipped by COVAX arrive to the Republic of Moldova

19 March 2021

Moldova received the second lot of COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX.

Photo: © UNICEF Moldova

Today Moldova received the 24,570 doses of BioNTech- Pfizer anti-COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. The delivery is the second arrival in Moldova.

"The vaccination campaign in the Republic of Moldova is ongoing, and the batch of vaccines delivered today on the COVAX platform will allow us to vaccinate other categories of population included in the first stage of Covid-19 immunization. We thank the development partners who contributed to accelerating the delivery of vaccines in the country," said the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, Denis Cernelea.

The United States, through USAID, is accelerating global access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines through the historic $4 billion contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  Through Gavi, the United States will support safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers.

“I am proud of the United States’ contributions to the COVAX program.  This delivery of vaccines produced by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer will save lives and help Moldova in the fight against this disease.” said U.S. Ambassador HE Dereck J. Hogan. 

Team Europe, bringing together EU and its Member States, contributed to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million recently pledged by Germany.

On the occasion of the delivery, Peter Michalko, EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova mentioned: “The European Union and its Member States have shown their continued support, in Team Europe spirit, for the delivery of much needed vaccines to the Republic of Moldova. The COVAX platform, to which the EU and entire TeamEurope are the largest contributors, continues vaccine deliveries, as we see with this new delivery again today. This lot will allow to vaccinate more persons and save more lives. Access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines is key in ending the pandemic.”

“Since we must vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, the arrival of the new lot of the anti-COVID vaccine to Moldova is great news. I am reassured knowing  that more doctors and nurses in Moldova will receive the protection they need to continue the fight and save more lives. The rapid spread of the virus has demonstrated that no nation can overcome this global pandemic alone. In partnership with the global community, through USAID, the US Government is accelerating global access to anti-COVID-19 vaccines,” said Scott Hocklander, USAID Moldova Mission Director. 

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. 

”The delivery of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines through the COVAX Initiative to the Republic of Moldova is the first for this vaccine in the WHO European Region. We are very grateful that the exceptional first round distribution of this vaccine has arrived in the country. Building on the principles of fairness, transparency and equity, which have guided the vaccine allocation process, we are confident that this new batch of vaccines will have a maximum public health impact by further enabling the country to protect its health workers and others at high risk.”, said Dr Igor Pokanevych, WHO Representative to the Republic of Moldova. 

WHO leads the support of the country’s preparedness to receive and administer vaccines and 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. 

“The BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 Celsius. Health care providers will need to store it in specialized freezers. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with support from Gavi, UNICEF has been upgrading the existing cold chain equipment to ensure that vaccines remain safe and effective throughout their journey,” said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Country Representative in Moldova. “We are happy to be supporting the critical vaccination process, and delivering the vaccines is just the first step.” 

UNICEF purchased 150 refrigerators and spare parts worth more than $135K to strengthen the cold chain, in May 2020. The refrigerators are only intended for storing vaccines and were purchased with support from GAVI. Within the support of the COVAX platform, Moldova will also receive further support worth approximately $90K for the purchase of refrigerators.

“COVAX is an expression of solidarity and multilateral cooperation at its best. I would like to thank the Government of Moldova and to all of the COVAX partners for making these vaccines available. We are all very much stronger together.” considers Simon Springett, Resident Coordinator of UN in Moldova.

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. Moldova is the first country in Europe to have received 14 400 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility on 4 March. More than 16 thousand medical workers have been vaccinated so far. 

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 on 7 March 2020, when a Moldovan woman that returned from Italy was tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, 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. 

About WHO

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 and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTokPinterest, Snapchat, YouTube

 About UNICEF

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. Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

 

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines shipped by COVAX arrive to the Republic of Moldova

Angela Munteanu-avatar

Angela Munteanu

UNICEF
Communication Officer
Rodica Munteanu

Rodica Munteanu

WHO
Communication Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative