NEW DELHI: UNICEF India has signed a USD 15 million agreement with COVID-19 relief initiative Crypto Relief to procure an estimated 160 million syringes to support India in its inoculation drive, according to a statement.

Under the agreement, UNICEF India will procure re-use prevention (RUP) syringes from manufacturers across the world through a global tendering process.

To maintain quality, only WHO pre-qualified manufacturers will be asked to participate in the tender.

Based on the global tender results, UNICEF will place orders with eligible bidders across the globe.

The syringes are expected to be delivered between September 2021 and January 2022, the UN body said in the statement.

“India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is one of the largest in the world aiming to vaccinate over 994 million people above the age of 18 years. In this massive endeavour, as many syringes as vaccines are required to keep up the fight to contain the pandemic,” said Dr Yasmin Haque, UNICEF India Representative.

“We are bringing UNICEF’s expertise in procuring and delivering syringes to support India to fast-track vaccinations. Containing the pandemic will also help prevent the disruptions children are facing in education, in accessing health, routine immunization and nutrition services, along with ensuring safety and protection concerns,” she added.