Ghana Gets 600,000 COVID-19 Vaccines From COVAX
Ghana is the first country outside of India to get the COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) eight-month-old vaccine-sharing program.
This week, COVAX shipped 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India to Ghana’s capital city, Accra. Destination: the arms of frontline health workers and others at high risk, said the WHO and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in a joint statement.
The COVAX initiative — which is headed by the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) — pools funds from wealthier countries and nonprofits in an effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it equitably around the world.
These 600,000 COVAX vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries, part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries, said the organizations in their statement.
COVAX endeavors to deliver a total of 2.3 billion doses by year’s end, including 1.8 billion to poorer countries at no cost to their governments. The plan is to help vaccinate up to 20 percent of countries’ populations.
Thus far, 210 million doses of vaccine have been administered globally — but half of those are in just two countries, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier this week, adding, “More than 200 countries are yet to administer a single dose.”
COVAX announced earlier this month that it had allocated the first tranche of 330 million doses of vaccines for 145 countries, including several in West Africa.