Humanitarian aid groups stockpiling syringes for distribution of COVID vaccine, once available

WASHINGTON — A humanitarian aid group is working to make sure people around the world are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine once one is available.

UNICEF, or the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, is stockpiling hundreds of millions of syringes so that people have a way to administer the vaccine.

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They’re the world’s largest provider of vaccines, working in nearly 200 countries across the globe.

Their goal now is to make sure areas most in need will be able to take a COVID-19 vaccine safely once it’s ready.

“Imagine if you didn’t have a syringe, even if you had the vaccine,” said UNICEF’s Chief of gathering medical supplies Robert Matthews.

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UNICEF says it will distribute the syringes to areas most in need. However, the exact details on how they’ll prioritize those areas haven’t been decided yet.

The syringes are meant to make sure people aren’t reusing needles, and aren’t being exposed to other blood-borne diseases.

“If you try...you break the syringe, so you can only use it once,” Matthews explains.

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UNICEF has already made the orders for more than half a billion syringes and plan to order more than a billion in 2021.

They’ll be kept in their warehouses until the COVID-19 vaccine is ready to be given to the public.