CNN has reported that Ghana is the first country to receive Covid-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program on Wednesday, a joint statement issued by UNICEF Ghana and WHO Ghana said.
The shipment, consisting of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, arrived at 7 am GMT Wednesday on an Emirates flight at Kotoka International Airport, in Ghana’s capital Accra.
The minister for health-designate, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, led a government delegation to receive the consignment.
As the plane carrying the vaccines landed, state-run Ghana Broadcasting Corporation journalist Abdul Hayi-Moomen declared: “The flight carrying the vaccines that we so much look forward to receiving, I believe hope has arrived.”
The vaccines were produced by the Serum Institute of India, in the Indian city of Pune, and are part of the first wave of Covid-19 vaccines headed to low and middle-income countries, the joint statement added.
“Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “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.”
COVAX is an international coalition set up to give equal access to the vaccine to all countries. Wealthier nations have, in the past, been accused of “hoarding” vaccines and leaving African countries behind in the race to inoculate their populations.
Ghana’s information ministry says the vaccines will be first administered to health workers, people over 60, and those with underlying health conditions. They also plan to secure additional vaccines through external agencies, a statement from the ministry said.
Ghana has reported at least 80,759 cases of Covid-19 and 582 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.