United Kingdom commends Ghana for receiving Covid-19 vaccine
United Kingdom commends Ghana for receiving Covid-19 vaccine
UNICEF signs COVID-19 vaccine supply agreement with AstraZeneca
27 February, 2021, 02:12
Ivory Coast received a shipment of COVID-19 doses from the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility on Friday, becoming the second country to benefit from a programme meant to ensure fairer distribution amid a global scramble.
Through the supply agreement, UNICEF, along with procurement partners including the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), will have access to up to 170 million doses of vaccines for around 85 countries. This is the third such agreement for COVID-19 vaccines, following previously announced agreements with Pfizer and the Serum Institute of India.
News reports the first recipients are due to be healthcare workers.
The Covax scheme aims to reduce the divide between rich countries and poorer nations unable to buy doses.
"At last!" World Health OrganiSation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whose organisation also backs the Covax initiative, said in a tweet. The COVAX Facility plans to deliver close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year.
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.
The first batch was delivered to Ghana on Wednesday.
Vaccinations are scheduled to start on Tuesday in Accra, Kumasi and Obuasi.
And it is setting a good example by providing vaccines to as many countries as it can.
"The first segment of the population that will receive from the 600,000 doses will be health workers, adults 60 years and over, people with underlying health conditions, frontline executive, legislature, judiciary and their related staff, frontline security personnel, some religious leaders, essential workers, teachers and other personalities in Greater Accra Metro including Awutu Senya West and Awutu Senya East in the Central Region".
COVAX said it had allocated the first tranche of 330 million doses of vaccines for 145 countries.
The initiative has received billions of dollars in funding, but WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out this week that money is nearly meaningless if there are no vaccines to buy.
The Federal Government had said last week that Nigeria would receive four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine very soon. So, COVAX begins to deliver before the end of February.
"Today is a major first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it's just the beginning", he said.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which requires two doses, is pending approval from Health Canada.
The plan should provide coverage for up to 20% of countries' populations.
The support ranged from specialist expertise such as seconding a UK Emergency Medical Team Case Management Specialist to the WHO Ghana; funding of oxygen concentrators and drones to deliver Covid-19 tests and life-saving medical equipment.
Earlier in February, the centre recommended against using the AstraZeneca vaccine in those member states that have reported coronavirus cases of the South African variant, after the shot showed its limited efficacy against the strain.
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