A new lot of COVID-19 vaccines shipped by COVAX to arrive in Moldova

Since 2 March 2021, more Moldovans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose than those that have been confirmed to have been infected since the beginning of the pandemics.

More than 100 thousand of BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses were shipped to Moldova via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. Half of the doses have already arrived, with another half to be delivered tomorrow, 21 May. The COVAX deliveries will continue in the coming days, with more than 45,600 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine expected to be shipped on 24 May. 

The current lot will bring the number of doses received by Moldova through COVAX to 233,190. 

“In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached one hundred countries,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. 

"So far, about 6% of the population of the Republic of Moldova has received the first dose of vaccine. We need to continue the vaccination process until we reach collective immunity, which would allow us to be better protected against the virus. Once again, we thank all the partners who contributed to the COVAX platform, a true initiative of solidarity and unity worldwide,” stressed Dr Igor Pokanevych, WHO Representative in the Republic of Moldova.

Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine must be stored at low temperatures between -90°C to -60°C to ensure that the vaccine’s quality and efficacy is maintained. The vaccines have been transported in highly specialised and reusable Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) shippers and health care providers will need to store them in specialized freezers. 

Last May, UNICEF purchased 150 refrigerators and spare parts worth more than $135 thousand to strengthen the cold chain. The refrigerators are only intended for storing vaccines and were purchased with support from GAVI. UNICEF will allocate more than $400 thousand for procurement of refrigerators for cold chain equipment in health facilities in 2021.

“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.” 

As of today, more than 250 thousand Moldovans received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 35 thousand fully vaccinated with two doses. 

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 UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

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 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.

Quotes from partners and donors

Dereck J. Hogan, US Ambassador to Moldova said: "COVID-19 is a global challenge that requires a global response.  The United States is firmly committed to help lead those efforts and support Moldova’s recovery from this terrible pandemic."

USAID Mission Director Scott Hocklander said: "Global trends are proving that mass vaccination helps reduce COVID-19 infection rates and outcomes. With these delivery vaccines, including ones produced by the American multinational pharmaceutical company Pfizer, more Moldovans now have the opportunity to protect themselves and their families, travel, and return to normal lives. I am very proud that USAID is helping accelerate Moldova's access to COVID-19 vaccines through our contributions to COVAX. In order to end the pandemic, save lives around the world, rebuild the global economy, and stop the threat of new variants, we must together fight COVID-19 everywhere it exists."

EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova Peter Michalko mentioned: “EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova Peter Michalko mentioned: “This new delivery of vaccines via the COVAX platform shows Team Europe efforts to provide concrete support for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova and the vaccination process. The EU and its Member States are one of the largest donors for the COVAX platform, and with this initiative the EU would like to ensure that its neighbours, its partners have access to vaccines.” 

The German Ambassador Angela Ganninger said: “Today, another batch of the BioNTech/ Pfizer vaccine has arrived in Chişinâu via the COVAX platform. I am glad that this vaccine, developed by the German company BioNTech in cooperation with Pfizer and awaited by many in the Republic of Moldova, is available again. Germany will continue to support the COVAX facility as one of its largest donors. With the increased availability of vaccines, more and more Moldovans will have a chance to get vaccinated in the near future.“

The British Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova Steven Fisher said “It is great to see more vaccinations arriving in the Republic of Moldova.  The UK is one of the main financial contributors to the COVAX facility.  We are committed in playing an important role that ensures all people living in Moldova have equitable access to a vaccination.   Nobody is safe until we are all safe”.

Ambassador of Japan Katayama Yoshihiro said: "I am happy to see a new COVAX vaccine delivery having arrived to help support the effort of the people of Moldova towards overcoming the pandemic. I am also very much looking forward to the June COVAX summit hosted by the Government of Japan and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which aims at securing additional two billion USD for the global vaccine program. Together with all our partners, Japan continues to promote fair access to safe and effective vaccines throughout the entire world."

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization