Covax vaccine-sharing scheme delivers first doses to Ghana

THE first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines distributed by the Covax facility arrives at Kotoka airport in Accra Ghana.—AP

Deliveries of the vaccine are planned to begin in the first quarter of 2021, in line with the COVAX Allocation Framework that take into consideration several factors including country readiness, national regulatory authorizations and completed contractual provisions, as well as operating and supply considerations.

The WHO said the delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals that will continue in the coming days and weeks as other African countries are expected to start receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.

He said United Kingdom was proud to have provided £548 million for COVAX, which would help supply at least 1.3 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for up to 92 countries this year, and lauded Ghana for the foresight.

As the coronavirus pandemic exploded worldwide last April, global organizations banded together to help ensure that the world's most vulnerable people would get vaccines amid the rush for shots.

For Ghana, it aims to deliver 2,412,000 doses.

UNICEF shows the aircraft containing first batch of Covid-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX facility arriving at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana.

Covax has said it hopes to raise the figure to up to 27 percent in lower-income countries by the end of December.

That delay led numerous poorer countries to rush to sign their own deals, potentially undermining Covax's efforts to get shots to the neediest people.

And some countries can't afford to go it alone. As part of the UN Country Team in Ghana, UNICEF and World Health Organization reiterate our commitment to support the vaccination campaign and contain the spread of the virus, in close cooperation with all partners, including Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Another 90 countries and eight territories have agreed to pay.

Ivory Coast, population 25 million, has recorded around 35,650 coronavirus cases and 188 deaths. They also plan to secure additional vaccines through external agencies, the statement said.

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Prince William previously visited vaccination center close to his country home at King's Lynn, Norfolk. An NHS vaccine chief said it was an "incredibly important vote of confidence" in the programme.

And it is setting a good example by providing vaccines to as many countries as it can.

That freneticism has been echoed across the continent of 1.3 billion people, as deliveries have fallen behind schedule and African nations have scrambled to secure vaccines from various sources. Only about seven of 54 have begun vaccination campaigns.

But health experts have warned that unless the whole world has access to vaccines, the pandemic will not end.

"I think that more actors, once they feel a little bit reassured about their own population, would for sure come and help so we can catch up", she said.

Vaccination programs against the coronavirus are underway mainly in developed countries while many developing countries have no prospect of starting them.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus noted that the pandemic will not end anywhere unless it ends everywhere.

"Today is a major first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it's just the beginning", he said on Wednesday.

"But they didn't tell us which country is first or which is second, which is third".

The 600,000 doses delivered to Ghana were the Oxford/AstraZeneca formula, made under license by the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India.

While French President Emmanuel Macron promised to donate 5% of vaccines to COVAX, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said it was "difficult to say with any kind of certainty" when or how much Britain could donate.

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