Ghana receives world’s first doses of free Covax vaccines

by Kent Mensah

Ghana acquired Wednesday the primary cargo of COVID-19 vaccines from Covax, a world scheme to acquire and distribute inoculations free of charge, because the world races to include the pandemic.

Covax, launched final April to assist guarantee a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines between wealthy and poor nations, mentioned it will ship two billion doses to its members by the tip of the 12 months.

“We’re happy that Ghana has develop into the primary nation to obtain the Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax facility,” UNICEF, which organised the cargo from Mumbai, mentioned in a joint assertion with the World Well being Group — each backers of Covax.

It mentioned the 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed by the world’s largest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute of India, are a part of an preliminary tranche of deliveries “headed to a number of low and middle-income nations.”

The Emirates flight carrying the vaccines touched down at Accra’s Kotoka Worldwide Airport shortly after 0740 GMT, in photographs broadcast on tv.

Covax had mentioned it aimed to ship 2,412,000 doses of the vaccine to Ghana.

The nation’s meals and drug authority has authorised using the vaccines made in India in addition to the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, in accordance with native media.

The West African nation has recorded 80,759 COVID-19 circumstances and 582 deaths for the reason that begin of the pandemic. These figures are believed to fall in need of the actual toll because the variety of checks is low.

Well being employees and different frontline workers are supposed to be among the many first to obtain doses.

“Within the days forward, frontline employees will start to obtain vaccines,” UNICEF Govt Director Henrietta Fore mentioned.

“The following section within the struggle in opposition to this illness can start – the ramping up of the most important immunization marketing campaign in historical past.”

Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Improvements (CEPI), had anticipated a primary spherical of deliveries to happen in March with some early shipments occurring in late February.

New variants

The continent, comparatively spared by the pandemic, was the final besides Oceania to achieve the edge of 100,000 deaths, which Europe crossed in April 2020.

On the top of the pandemic in January, Africa had 906 deaths per day.

To assist velocity up immunisation of the continent’s 1.3 billion folks, the African Union mentioned it had secured 270 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines for supply this 12 months.

The WHO on Monday blasted rich nations for hogging Covid vaccines and hindering the pathway for poorer nations to get them too.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned some wealthy nations’ direct offers with producers had meant that previously-agreed vaccine allocations for poorer nations, through the Covax programme, had been being diminished.

Some 145 collaborating economies are set to obtain 337.2 million doses — sufficient to vaccinate a bit over three % of their mixed populations.

Covax has mentioned it hopes to lift the determine to as much as 27 % in lower-income nations by the tip of December.

New variants of the virus, together with in neighbouring Nigeria, are spreading throughout the continent with the UK and South African variants recorded in circumstances in Ghana.

“It’s strongly really useful for nations to make use of the AstraZeneca vaccine even when the… new variants are current,” the WHO mentioned in an announcement final week.

In Ghana, faculties reopened in January after a 10-month closure, however giant social gatherings are banned and land and sea borders have remained closed since March 2020.

Ghana’s financial progress is anticipated to plummet this 12 months to its lowest in three a long time, to 0.9 % in accordance with the Worldwide Financial Fund, from 6.5 % in 2019.


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