NEW YORK (December 6, 2021) – “I am pleased to announce that UNICEF and WHO, in partnership with Gavi, have asked Ted Chaiban, currently UNICEF Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa, to serve as Global Lead Coordinator for COVID Vaccine Country Readiness and Delivery. 

“This decision is an expression of our joint commitment to reinvigorate efforts to turn vaccines into vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries.

“With vastly improved supply, the world no longer has a global vaccine supply problem; it has a vaccine equity and delivery problem. More than 80 percent of the world’s vaccines have gone to G20 countries while millions of people, including healthcare workers, in low-income countries are still unprotected. 

“As vaccine doses become increasingly available in the coming weeks, it is critical that countries are prepared, resourced and able to roll them out. 

“With support from COVAX, the African Union, AVAT and other partners, governments in low-income countries have made important progress in getting ready to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines at a scale sufficient to meet global objectives. However, they still face significant challenges in scaling up capacity. 

“We welcome the decision by Gavi’s Board to establish a steering committee for country readiness and delivery. The Global Lead Coordinator will work closely with this committee and will help create a unified and elevated global COVID-19 delivery support and coordination structure with joint accountability for country support operations on vaccine readiness and delivery. 

“With news of a new variant, Omicron, come understandable fears of another round of uncontrollable outbreaks, renewed lockdowns, school closures and the potential for another lost year for children. The need to ramp up vaccination efforts is acute.”

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to pursue a more equitable world for every child. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF USA advances the global mission of UNICEF by rallying the American public to support the world’s most vulnerable children. Together, we are working toward a world that upholds the rights of all children and helps every child thrive. For more information, visit

For more information please contact:

Erica Vogel, UNICEF USA, 212.922.2480, [email protected]

Lauren Davitt, UNICEF USA, 212.922.2503, [email protected]