Ghana receives 249,600 doses as gift from UK govt under COVAX facility
Ghana’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination programme is seeing a boost as government yesterday received 249,600 AstraZeneca vaccines under the COVAX facility.
The vaccines, donated by the UK government forms part of three million doses pledged to 11 African countries.
It is in fulfilment of a promise made by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at the recently held G7 Summit to share 100 million jabs with the rest of the world with 80 per cent going through COVAX.
Receiving the vaccines at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) yesterday, a Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, noted the timeliness of the vaccines to achieve the government’s target of immunising at least 60 per cent of the population by the end of the year.
“This comes at a time when government has dedicated a lot of resources through the efforts of the ministry to manage the COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time addressing the general health needs of the population,” she added.
The Deputy Minister indicated that the donation demonstrated the strong bilateral relationship between the UK government and the rest of the world of which Ghana was part.
She thanked the UK government and other donor partners for supporting Ghana’s fight against the pandemic, and assured swift deployment of the vaccines to protect citizens.
The Chargé d’affaires at the British High Commission, Dr Joseph Whittle, in making the presentation, said the UK was glad to be a partner under COVAX to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries around the world by early 2022.
“Our shared commitment to overcome COVID-19 has only strengthened the UK-Ghana partnership, and this is reflected by the fact that Ghana is one of the first countries in the world receiving UK-donated vaccines,” he said.
Dr Whittle was optimistic that the vaccines would take the country’s vaccination programme a step further, as those not vaccinated and others in need of their vital second jab would get vaccinated, to protect against the COVID-19 variants.
COVID-19, Dr Whittle said, was a global problem and called for collaboration, partnership and co-ordination to fight and mitigate its impact.
Country Director of UNICEF, Anne Claire Dufay, lauded Ghana’s robust deployment of vaccines to protect citizens against the virus.
The receipt of this batch of AstraZeneca vaccines, she said would go a long way to achieving herd immunity against COVID-19.
UNICEF and its partners, she pledged would continue to educate the population on the importance of vaccination to build a healthier population.
Ms Dufay further appealed to other countries to donate vaccines to the COVAX facility to “create equitable access to vaccines which is needed all over the world.”
Ghana on March 1, 2021 begun a vaccination exercise targeted at immunising at least 20 million of the population to achieve at least 60 per cent herd immunity before the end of the year.
So far, more than 1.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to the populace with health authorities presently deploying Johnson and Johnson vaccines in 11 selected hotspot districts in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.
COVAX, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF has been a major supplier of vaccines to the country, so far donating close to 1.7 million AstraZeneca vaccines to Ghana.