COVID19
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Ghana on Wednesday became the first country outside India to receive COVID19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX facility.

“This is a historic step towards our goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,” the WHO said in a joint release.

The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals that will continue in the coming days and weeks, it said.

On February 23, COVAX shipped 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/ Oxford vaccine, from the Serum Institute of India (SII) from Pune to Accra and the same arrived on the morning of February 24.

The arrival in Accra is the first batch shipped and delivered in Africa by the COVAX Facility as part of an unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organisations, manufacturers, and others.

“COVAX’s mission is to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible by enabling global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“Today’s delivery takes us another step closer to this goal and is something the whole world can be proud of. Over the coming weeks, COVAX must deliver vaccines to all participating economies to ensure that those most at risk are protected, wherever they live.”

“We need governments and businesses now to recommit their support for COVAX and help us defeat this virus as quickly as possible,” Berkley said.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said, “We will not end the pandemic anywhere unless we end it everywhere.”

“Today is a major first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it’s just the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do with governments and manufacturers to ensure that vaccination of health workers and older people is underway in all countries within the first 100 days of this year,” Ghebreyesus added.

Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI said: “This is a landmark moment in our efforts to get life-saving vaccine to the world.  The fact that we now have multiple safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 developed in record time is testament to the scientific community and industry rising to the challenge of this pandemic.”

“With this shipment we also see the global community, through COVAX, responding to the challenge of delivering these vaccines to those who need them most. Let us celebrate this as a moment of global solidarity in the struggle against the pandemic.”

“But there is still much to do. With the increased spread of COVID-19 variants, we have entered a new and less predictable phase of the pandemic.”

“It is crucial that the vaccines we have developed are shared globally, as a matter of the greatest urgency, to reduce the prevalence of disease, slow down viral mutation, and bring the pandemic to an end,” Hatchett added.

Over the past several months, COVAX partners have been supporting governments and partners, particularly for AMC-eligible participants, in readiness efforts, in preparation for this moment.

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