Major retailer set to deliver one million vaccines
THE Cotton On Foundation will deliver up to one million COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities following a partnership with UNICEF.
The foundation has been in contact with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund since 2019, however the recent collaboration launched at the Geelong headquarters last week has been dubbed the first of its kind.
Cotton On Group chief executive officer Peter Johnson said the foundation, combined with team members and customers, has been supporting remote communities since 2007 and has raised more than $120 million in the past for global causes.
“Through our foundation’s unique fundraising model, we have supported vulnerable communities for the past 13 years,” he said.
“The impact of this pandemic has been felt right across the world and we’re proud to be part of the solution by helping communities get back on their feet.”
Hoping to pave the way for other major retail brands, 100 per cent of the profits made from Cotton On Foundation items over the next six weeks will be donated to the vaccination program.
General manager at the Cotton On Foundation, Tim Diamond, said the vaccine program will ensure equity amongst some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
“We understand how much COVID-19 is affecting the communities we work in, schools have been shutting down a number of times throughout the year, cases are rising in East Africa and we are cautious about what we are seeing in India as well,” he said.
“We aren’t saying everyone should get vaccinated, but everyone should have the choice.”
The rollout will be made in partnership with COVAX, which is a joint project with the World Health Organisation that assists in delivering vaccinations to remote communities and villages.
Mr Diamond said the execution of the roll-out will be up to UNICEF which vaccinates half of the world’s children each year.
“The logistical side of things is unbelievable, a cold vaccine needs to be delivered from where it is manufactured into the most remote places in the world, kept cold then issued and disposed of in the correct way,” he said.
“It is a huge logistical undertaking, and we rely on them to take that part, but we have this amazing fundraising mechanism that will lend a hand when there is a need.
“We have our own mission which is to provide education to children who need it most, but this focus is a six-week campaign, where we will get our global team involved and raise $3 million to provide one million vaccines.”
Mr Diamond said the program will have the benefits of allowing more places to get back to normal and allow borders and economies to open up.
The COVAX program will start with providing vaccines to frontline health workers, social works and teachers in vulnerable communities.
“This is the ticket through to returning to normal and we are proud to be involved,” Mr Diamond said.
“We won’t be able to do it ourselves, so we are super pumped to be able to connect with UNICEF.
“Going back to communities and schools we are involved in, there is a need and want for vaccines, they want to be able to get over this pandemic.”
Mr Diamond said the foundation wanted to lead the way so other corporations and businesses will look for ways to assist in the global crisis.
“We are conscious there is a lot of work ahead of us to deliver the vaccines, but we are proud to be able to do this,” he said.
“It is a huge global effort, and a lot of organisations need to chip in and support our vulnerable communities.”