Ghana has become the first recipient of COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed by COVAX, a global vaccine sharing initiative. These 600,000 COVAX vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine licensed to the Serum Institute of India, which represent part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries.
Key government and health officials as well as diplomats were at the Kotoka International Airport to receive the vaccines.
“After a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 80,700 Ghanaians getting infected with the virus and over 580 lost lives, the path to recovery for the people of Ghana can finally begin”.
“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end. The only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available for all. We thank all partners that are supporting the COVAX Facility to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all countries quickly and fairly”. UNICEF said in a statement to mark the occasion. The government plans to start administering the vaccines on March 2.
The statement also added that the shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The COVAX Facility plans to deliver close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year. This is an unprecedented global effort to make sure all citizens have access to vaccines. Vaccines save lives. As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy, including better access to health, education and protection services. In the spirit of Universal Health Coverage, let’s leave no one behind.
The areas earmarked for the initial vaccine rollout are the Greater Accra Metro including Awutu Senya and Awutu Senya East in the Central Region. A similar segmented population in the Greater Kumasi Metro and Obuasi municipality will also be covered, according to a statement from the Information Ministry.