COVID-19 vaccines: first doses donated by Iceland arrive in Côte d’Ivoire

The first doses donated by Iceland to COVAX have arrived in Côte d’Ivoire, with a shipment of 35,700 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine setting down in Abidjan on 19 September 2021. This is part of a total donation of 125,726 doses to COVAX, alongside a financial pledge of ISK 750 million in funding made earlier this year to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC).

Côte d’Ivoire received an additional 35,000 doses of COVID 19 vaccine from Iceland, by the COVAX facility. The vaccines were stored at the Ministry of Health’s cold storage in Abidjan, southern Côte d’Ivoire.

Iceland’s longstanding support for global development and public health in Africa has grown ever stronger – Iceland committed funding to Gavi for the 2018-2021 period, focused on reducing maternal and child mortality in Malawi. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this additional support for COVAX helps us to move closer to ending the acute phase of the pandemic.

“Iceland is firmly committed to play its part” says Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation of Iceland. “Equitable access to vaccines is not only a fundamental matter of global solidarity but a shared interest of us all.”

“Iceland has long punched above its weight in development and global health,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX. “This shipment of Icelandic doses through COVAX underlines the government’s commitment to global equitable access to vaccines.”

These doses donated by Iceland are produced by the AstraZeneca manufacturing network. Donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensures that no dose goes to waste, and helps to bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic. The design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism is being supported by a contribution of CAD 5 million from Canada.

The donation of doses via COVAX are enabled via tripartite agreements between Gavi, manufacturers, and donating countries. The shipments to countries will be enabled by COVAX delivery partners UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Over 600 million doses have already been pledged to COVAX by a number of countries in response to short-term supply challenges and the rise of new variants. Working with donor governments to operationalise growing numbers of dose-sharing pledges, COVAX expects to see more deliveries of donated doses in the weeks and months to come.