16th July 2024

Some 249,000 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines arrived in the country yesterday to boost the country’s vaccination drive.

The vaccines, donated by the UK government, will be deployed across the country to reach those who are most in need.

Deputy Minister of Health Tina Mensah and other officials from the Ministry of Health, together with senior officials from the British High Commission to Ghana, including the Chargé d’affaires, Dr Joseph Whittle, and the UK Health Adviser to Ghana, Uzoamaka Gilpin, met the arrival at the Kotoka International Airport. Others who were also present to welcome the vaccines was UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay.

Pledge

The shipment was part of a broader pledge made by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the G7 meeting in June. The UK had promised to share 100 million jabs with the rest of the world, of which 80 per cent would be through COVAX.

Already, the UK government has donated about five million vaccine doses to COVAX. About three million of the doses are to be sent to countries across Africa. Some countries such as Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia have already received their doses.

Speaking at the Kotoka International Airport, the Chargé d’affaires for the British High Commission to Ghana, Dr Joseph Whittle, said the shipment signalled another step forward in Ghana’s vaccine programme.

“It means 249,600 front-line health workers, vulnerable people most at risk from Covid-19 and those in need of their vital second jab have access to vaccinations and better protection against Covid-19 variants.

Shared commitment

“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.

The UK has been at the forefront of the global response to Covid-19, including investing £90 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

As a result, more than half a billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered at a non-profit price globally, with two-thirds going to lower and middle-income countries.

The UK kick-started efforts to establish COVAX in 2020, providing a total of £548 million to fund vaccines for lower-income countries.

 

The scheme has delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including 83 lower-middle-income countries. 65% of the initial vaccine doses have been Oxford-AstraZeneca.

COVAX aims to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries around the world by early 2022.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Three million doses of UK-donated vaccines are now arriving in 11 countries across Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, to help the fight against Covid-19. This is the first batch of 80 million being donated via COVAX – because we know no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

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