The European Union and the WHO Regional Office for Europe will work together in a major effort to support the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in Azerbaijan. The project funded by the European Union and implemented by WHO will cover all phases – constituting “end-to-end” support – of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and vaccination and will also serve as a major investment to strengthen the routine immunization system.
The project will be implemented by WHO to support the major national counterparts, the Ministry of Health and TABIB, over a three-year period as part of a €40 million European Union-funded initiative to support six countries in the WHO European Region in preparing for, deploying and monitoring rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
“This project will help rapid deployment of vaccines in the EU partner countries, including Azerbaijan. We all are waiting for these vaccines trying to turn the last year of lockdowns into the new year of hope and return to normal life. We are proudly working as “Team Europe”, with WHO, in solidarity with our partners, build on the previous cooperation when we delivered personal protective and medical equipment last year and rapidly reoriented our bilateral programs to support socio-economic recovery” stated Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan.
“We have started vaccination against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan since January. We highly appreciate cooperation with EU and WHO on risk communications, vaccine logistics and developing a cold chain for storing vaccines as part of our multiplatform approach to vaccine deployment,” stated Dr Yagut Garayeva, head of the Disease Prevention and Control Department of TABİB while emphasizing the importance of the initiative.
Dr Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan, said: “Vaccines offer hope and protection to those fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic and to those at highest risk living in fear of its devastating impact. Thanks to this generous support, WHO can strengthen its collaboration with the Government of Azerbaijan to ensure that vaccines can reach those who need them most, as soon and as efficiently as possible.”
The funds will be used initially to support the first phase of preparedness and deployment, with an emphasis on imminent needs in strategic programmatic areas such as planning, equipment/supplies, training of health workers and information campaigns.
The project builds on the European Union’s and WHO’s ongoing support to countries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the joint €35 million EU Solidarity for Health Initiative, aimed to support the partner countries in their fight against the virus and address better the needs of the most vulnerable people.