24 Feb Ghana is first to receive COVID-19 vaccines from Covax initiative for ” poorer nations”
24 Feb 2021
Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed Covax initiative, with a delivery Wednesday of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.
The vaccines, delivered by UNICEF, arrived at Kotoka International Airport in the Ghanaian capital of Accra early Wednesday and are part of the first wave of vaccines being sent by Covax, an international cooperative formed to make sure that low- and middle-income countries have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. Covax is led by the United Nation’s World Health Organization; Gavi, a vaccine consortium; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Ghana is among 92 countries that have signed up for the Covax program, according to a statement by acting Ghanaian Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
The West African nation of 30 million has recorded 81,245 coronavirus cases and 584 deaths since the beginning Ghana’s vaccination campaign will begin Tuesday and will be conducted in phases among prioritized groups, beginning with health workers, adults 60 and older, people with underlying health conditions and front-line executive, legislative and judicial workers, said Nkrumah.
“The government of Ghana remains resolute at ensuring the welfare of all Ghanaians and is making frantic efforts to acquire adequate vaccines to cover the entire population through bilateral and multilateral agencies,” he said.
In a joint statement, the country representatives of UNICEF and WHO described the arrival of the Covax vaccines as a “momentous occasion” critical to bringing the pandemic to an end.
“After a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic … the path to recovery for the people of Ghana can finally begin,” the statement said.
The Covax shipment to Ghana is the start of what will be the world’s largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, according to the statement. Covax plans to deliver close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines around the world this year.
“Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard. With the first shipment of doses, we can make good on the promise of the Covax Facility to ensure people from less-wealthy countries are not left behind in the race for lifesaving vaccines,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director.
“The next phase in the fight against this disease can begin — the ramping up of the largest immunization campaign in history,” said Fore. “Each step on this journey brings us further along the path to recovery for the billions of children and families affected around the world.”