Africa Health News

Ghana 1st nation to receive coronavirus vaccines from COVAX

Ghana received the world’s first delivery of coronavirus vaccines from the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative on Wednesday — the long-awaited start for a program that has thus far fallen short of hopes that it would ensure shots were given quickly to the world’s most vulnerable people.

This photograph released by UNICEF Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, shows the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility arriving at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana. Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative with a delivery of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. (Francis Kokoroko/UNICEF via AP)

The arrival of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the West African country marks the beginning of the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF. It is a linchpin of efforts to bring the pandemic to an end and has been hailed as the first time the world has delivered a highly sought-after vaccine to poor countries during an ongoing outbreak.

Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard. 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, said Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, which delivered the vaccines.

Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard. 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, said Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, which delivered the vaccines.

Even as it celebrated receiving the first doses, Ghana noted the long road ahead.

The government of Ghana remains resolute at ensuring the welfare of all Ghanaians and is making frantic efforts to acquire adequate vaccines to cover the entire population through bilateral and multilateral agencies, Ghana’s acting minister of information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said in a statement.

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.

If you look at which countries have managed to secure vaccines for their citizens, they are all in the developed industrialized world. And we are happy for their citizens. But we also want everyone who needs to be protected against the pandemic to get the vaccine, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier, told The Associated Press, calling the deliveries to Ghana a historic moment. This is critical to put an end to the pandemic, because until everybody is safe, no one is safe.

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Article from: apnews.com

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Ghana 1st nation to receive coronavirus vaccines from COVAX