UNICEF, together with the Pan American Health Organization, announced a tender for two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. They will be distributed under the COVAX programme, which brings together 186 countries. Over a period of 6 weeks, manufacturers who can ensure mass production of the vaccine are invited to submit their bids by the end of 2021 at the latest. The objective of the tender is to provide quality vaccine to the 186 countries participating in COVAX, 82 of which are low-income countries that will receive financial support for vaccine purchases, more quickly and based on the principle of equitable distribution.
UNICEF is reminded that the unprecedented nature and scale of the pandemic requires new approaches to vaccine procurement and distribution. COVAX, the programme for international cooperation on vaccine production, can consolidate the needs of all 186 countries. In this way, manufacturers will have a clear picture of demand and will be able to submit applications. All this will make it possible to optimise the supply of a number of potential manufacturers and to access the global market in the shortest possible time to quality licensed vaccines at the lowest prices. A team of World Health Organisation (WHO) vaccine pre-qualification experts will assess the quality of all drugs that countries will purchase through the COVAX Alliance.
The United Nations (UN) has repeatedly emphasised the need for fair distribution and vaccines and warned against "vaccine nationalism". when governments make deals with vaccine manufacturers in advance to provide for their own citizens. This desire is understandable, both the head of the United Nations António Guterres and WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus Tedros say, but they constantly stress that COVID-19 does not recognise borders, and as long as there is at least one person in the world who can catch it, no one can feel protected.