The COVAX Humanitarian Buffer

Published Date

The Humanitarian Buffer is a mechanism established within the COVAX Facility to act as a measure of ‘last resort’ to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for high-risk and vulnerable populations in humanitarian settings. Populations of concern in humanitarian settings may include refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, internally displaced persons, minorities, populations in conflict settings or those affected by humanitarian emergencies, and vulnerable migrants irrespective of their legal status. Both COVAX Participants and humanitarian agencies can apply for Humanitarian Buffer doses. The Humanitarian Buffer is only to be used where there are unavoidable gaps in coverage in national vaccination plans and micro-plans, despite advocacy efforts.


The application is for doses, devices and delivery funding, as required. For any questions, or to submit an application, please contact or follow this link:

While application review, approval, prioritisation and allocation will be undertaken on an ongoing basis by the IASC decision-making body, applicants are advised that shipment of doses is contingent on available supply and successful contracting with manufacturers:

  • Supply constraints affecting the COVAX Facility will also impact the availability of doses to the Humanitarian Buffer.
  • Shipments for humanitarian agencies, including UN organisations, Red Cross and Red Crescent, International and national non-governmental and civil society organisations, are subject to successful conclusion of contracts with manufacturers, including on indemnity and liability-related arrangements.

Frequently Asked Questions: The COVAX Humanitarian Buffer

This FAQ document has been prepared by the IASC Working Group on the Humanitarian Buffer. The Working Group was tasked by the IASC Emergency Directors Group to work with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, on the establishment and operationalization of the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer. These FAQs are intended for all IASC entities, humanitarian partners, and external stakeholders. The FAQs will be updated and re-circulated as required to ensure they reflect the most relevant and up-to-date information.

The document consists of 7 sets of FAQs:

  1. General
  2. Populations of concern for the humanitarian buffer
  3. Who can apply for doses through the humanitarian buffer?
  4. Decision-making for allocations
  5. Financing of delivery costs
  6. Monitoring and evaluation
  7. Indemnity and liability
  8. Compensation
  9. Other legal issues

The document will be regularly updated.

View the FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions: The COVAX Humanitarian Buffer, 16 May 2022