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Ghana Is First Country To Receive Vaccines Through Global COVAX Program

   DailyWire.com
Airport workers transport on dollies a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra on February 24, 2021. - Ghana received the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for free, as the world races to contain the pandemic. Covax, launched last April to help ensure a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor nations, said it would deliver two billion doses to its members by the end of the year. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP) (Photo by NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Ghana is the first country in the world to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the United Nations-backed COVAX program. 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to the country by UNICEF and arrived early on Wednesday.

COVAX is an international cooperative program that was reportedly created in order to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have fair access to the COVID-19 vaccines alongside wealthier nations. According to AP News, “COVAX is led by the United Nation’s World Health Organization; Gavi, a vaccine group; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI.”

Ghana is one of 92 low- and middle-income countries that will get the vaccines for free through the initiative. An additional 90 countries and 8 territories have agreed to pay if they make the decision to obtain vaccines through COVAX.

According to AP News,

The West African nation of 30 million has recorded 81,245 cases and 584 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to figures from Ghana’s Health Services Tuesday.

The vaccination campaign in Ghana will start on March 2, proceeding “in phases among prioritized groups, beginning with health workers, adults of 60 years and over, people with underlying health conditions, frontline executive, legislature, judiciary, and their related staff, Ghana’s acting Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement,” according to the AP.

“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 multi-lateral agencies,” he said.

The country representatives of UNICEF and WHO released a statement on the arrival of the vaccines in the country.

“After a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 80,700 Ghanaians getting infected with the virus and over 580 lost lives, the path to recovery for the people of Ghana can finally begin,” it said, adding, “… The only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available for all. We thank all partners that are supporting the COVAX Facility to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all countries quickly and fairly.”

“Vaccines save lives,” the statement concluded. “As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy, including better access to health, education and protection services. In the spirit of Universal Health Coverage, let’s leave no one behind.”

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would contribute $4 billion to the global effort.

On February 18, the White House released a statement saying that the United States will provide $2 billion as an initial contribution using funds “appropriated by a bipartisan Congressional vote in December 2020.”

The statement continued,

The United States will also take a leadership role in galvanizing further global contributions to COVAX by releasing an additional $2 billion through 2021 and 2022, of which the first $500 million will be made available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered to AMC countries. In close cooperation with Gavi, this additional $2 billion in funding will serve to expand COVAX’s reach. We also call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global COVID-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply, and delivery needs.

The statement released Wednesday by UNICEF and WHO representatives stressed that this is the beginning of what is expected to be “the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.” The COVAX Facility plans to deliver almost 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.