Ghana has become the first African country to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX.
This was announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday.
According to WHO, the country received 600,000 doses of the vaccine from COVAX.
“Ghana becomes the first African country to receive #COVID19 vaccines from the COVAX facility. 600,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses arrived in Accra this morning. The delivery is the first wave of arrivals to continue in coming days,” it said.
“Ghana is among the first countries to receive #COVAX vaccines based on various factors, including a strong rollout plan & all regulatory steps in place. The shipments represent the beginning of the largest vaccine procurement & supply operation in history.”
COVAX, which is co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI Alliance, was launched in 2020 to mobilise resources for innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
In a distribution forecast, earlier in the month, a total of 336 million doses were announced to be donated to over 120 countries.
Reacting to the news, Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, described the development as a first step and a day to celebrate.
“At last! This morning the first doses of #COVID19 vaccines shipped by the COVAX facility arrived in #Ghana. Congratulations to all partners including @gavi, @CEPIvaccines & @UNICEF ,” he tweeted
“A day to celebrate, but it’s just the first step. 45 days left for #VaccinEquity.
“Today is the culmination of many months of planning, research, negotiation & coordination. But it’s just the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do to realize our shared vision for #VaccinEquity by starting vaccination in all countries within the first 100 days of the year.”
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use in Nigeria by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) last Thursday.
According to the agency, the evaluation of the vaccine showed that it is effective against the UK variant of the virus-B117- which has been found in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government had said it was expecting 58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX and African Union AVATT platform.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, said COVAX will provide Nigeria with 16 million vaccine doses in the first half of 2020 while AVATT will supply over 42 million doses.
The minister had said the country may receive the doses in 10 days’ time.