The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has combined efforts with Crown Agents, the British not-for-profit international development organisation, to deliver 4 million Covid-19 vaccines globally.
In an effort to support global vaccination efforts, the Government is distributing the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, developed by the Oxford vaccine group, to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Cambodia, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The doses have been paid for by the UK and are being delivered to target countries; the first shipment of 126.8k vaccines for Guyana and Belize left the UK last week.
Crown Agents has been assisting the FCDO in their COVID-19 response since March 2020. The company will ensure that the vaccines are transported between 2⁰C and 8⁰C to prevent spoilage as part of a complex supply chain operation.
Earlier in 2021, Crown Agents assisted the FCDO to transport the Covid-19 vaccine to the British Overseas Territories, which include the most remote communities in the world like Pitcairn and Tristan Da Cunha. The organisation successfully ensured that the vaccines were delivered to their destinations within 84 hours.
Commenting on the company’s continuing partnership with the FCDO to support global vaccination efforts, CEO Fergus Drake said:
“As of today, 26.9% of the world’s population has been vaccinated. Urgent help is needed to ensure 70% vaccine coverage in every country in 2022 as per the WHO’s recommendation. Crown Agents is proud to assist the UK government with its long-standing, global supply chain expertise to contribute towards this goal.”
Crown Agents has extensive experience in shipping and distributing supplies globally, having run supply chain operations for over a century, including in challenging environments, such as warzones. To assist in the global effort to help combat Covid-19, Crown Agents provides a “lab to jab” service for countries seeking to procure and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. In January this year, the organisation was appointed by the Ukrainian Government to procure Covid-19 vaccines on behalf of its Ministry of Health. Ukraine received its first delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine a month later.
During the spread of the pandemic in 2020, Crown Agents managed to cut through an extremely competitive procurement environment for PPE supply, ensuring countries in the developing world were not left behind. The company subsequently assisted in distributing the vaccine on the ground and training health workers in its use, including in conflict-affected countries such as South Sudan.