Ghana becomes first country to receive vaccines under COVAX programme
Under WHO backed COVAX programme,Ghana has become the first country to receive India manufactured Covid-19 vaccine
600,000 doses of vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India was delivered to Ghana on Wednesday.
They are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries.
The vaccines were shipped from Mumbai to the Ghanaian capital, Accra, by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as part of the first wave of vaccines headed to several low and middle income countries.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore described their arrival as “the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard”, as the world ramps up the largest immunization campaign in history.
“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 life-saving vaccines,” she said in a statement.
Further supplies will be shipped to other nations as the global rollout gathers pace, when readiness criteria have been met and the doses produced.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director General, welcomed the development, along with COVAX partners Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
But he insisted that there was still “a lot of work to do” to secure support for WHO’s goal of giving the vaccine to all health workers and older people in the first 100 days of the year.
"We will not end the pandemic anywhere unless we end it everywhere," the WHO chief said in a joint statement.
"Today is a major first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it's just the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do with governments and manufacturers to ensure that vaccination of health workers and older people is underway in all countries within the first 100 days of this year."
UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir took to twitter and said, “I am heartened by the news from #COVAX as its first shipment of #COVID19 #vaccines has arrived in #Ghana. Multilateral efforts are key in the fight against the pandemic. A big thank you to @WHO @UNICEF @GAVI @CEPIvaccine and all partners. #ACTogether #Vaccines4All.”
The West African nation has recorded 80,759 Covid-19 cases and 582 deaths since the start of the pandemic, although the true figure is believed to be higher because of lack of testing.