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Ghana becomes first to receive Covid jabs for ‘the poor’

By Njange Maina
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021
In summary

Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive coronavirus vaccines for the world's poor people from the World Health Organisation(WHO).

The first batch containing 600,000 doses landed Accra on Tuesday, roughly eight months after the WHO launched COVAX initiative meant to pool funds from wealthier countries and develop vaccine for equitable distribution around the world, Reuters reported.

The doses developed by the AstraZeneca/Oxford were produced in India by the Serum Institute and are expected to be administered in the coming days.

The initial vaccination will prioritise front line health workers and other individuals identified as high risk. Ghanaian health officials and UNICEF said.

"Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore.

"With the first shipment of doses to Ghana, we can begin to 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," she added.

Ghana has over 80,000 coronavirus cases and 580 fatalities, according to a tally seen by Reuters.

COVAX is trying to narrow the gap between the rich and the third world countries in accessing the vaccinations. Developed nations had already rolled their vaccination by late last year.

The initiative targets close to 2 billion vaccinations in 2021, most of which will reach poorest countries. Africa has most of the countries where COVAX is targeting.

The African Union said it secured 270 million vaccines of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson&Johnson which are expected to be taken up by this year.

According to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), the continent had 3.8million cases, 102,097 deaths and 3.4million recoveries as at Wednesday. South Africa alone had 1.5 million cases.

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