<strong>Yerevan, 31 March 2021</strong> – Armenia received 24 000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX facility, a joint initiative of CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. The long-awaited first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Armenia on 28 March 2021 and was received by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia. The timely arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Armenia marks a major milestone for the country to return to a path of recovery. Efforts as part of the Global World Immunization Week from 24 to 30 April will contribute to the vaccine deployment in Armenia.
Team Europe, consisting of the European Union and its Member States, has contributed to the COVAX facility with over €2.2 billion and recently an additional €900 million was pledged by Germany.
On the occasion of the delivery, Andrea Wiktorin, the Ambassador of the European Union to Armenia stated: ‘Considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Armenia, we see the vaccine delivery as a very positive development. The European Union will continue its support to the Republic of Armenia in its effort to decrease the number of infected people and save lives. The European Union and its Member States, in the spirit of Team Europe, are the biggest contributors to the COVAX facility, which will deliver more vaccines to Armenia within the upcoming period. We believe this will increase people’s access to safe and effective vaccines to end the pandemic and protect the health and lives of Armenian citizens.’
The delivery of the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccines has come six weeks after the launch of a joint EU-WHO initiative, which covers all phases of the vaccination programme – from the COVID-19 vaccines deployment to vaccination. The initiative will support the deployment of the delivered AstraZeneca vaccines.
‘Intense COVID-19 transmission is ongoing and is putting enormous pressure on hospitals, intensive care units and health workers. Vaccines are a critical new tool and will strengthen the concerted efforts to stop COVID-19 in Armenia. Indeed, COVAX’s goal is to end the acute phase of the pandemic globally by delivering doses of safe and effective vaccines, on a global, fair and equitable basis. One of WHO’s highest priorities as a co-leader of COVAX, is to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of these COVID-19 vaccines.’ stated Egor Zaitsev, the WHO Representative in Armenia.
Mr Yuri Oksamitniy, acting UNICEF Representative, added, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic reveals what is at stake when we don’t have the protective shield of immunization. Today, vaccines are our best hope of ending this pandemic and rebuilding a better world. To support vaccine deployment in Armenia, UNICEF leveraged its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world to procure and deliver the COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of COVAX Facility,’ said ‘UNICEF will also support Ministry of Health with upgrading the capacity of cold-chain system and training for frontline healthcare professionals for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.’
To support the public with accurate and user-friendly information about COVID-19, UNICEF and WHO are also launching the Armenian version of HealthBuddy+ application, available on Google Play and App Store. HealthBuddy+ is an interactive solution that uses artificial intelligence to keep the public up to date with COVID-19 facts, including on vaccinations and also addresses rumours and misinformation.
In the run up to the World Immunization Week on 24-30 April 2021, partners reiterate their call that vaccines work. Vaccines have brought us closer and will bring us closer again. When we choose to vaccinate, we’re not just protecting ourselves and our families – we’re doing our part to create a safer community and a healthier future for all. #VaccinesWork
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