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World’s first doses of Covax vaccines are delivered

World’s first doses of Covax vaccines are delivered

February 25, 2021: Ghana is the first country to receive coronavirus vaccines through the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative.

The World Health Organization (WHO) program aims to ensure that vaccines are equitably shared among all nations.

Covax aims to deliver around two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines worldwide by the yearend.

Many rich nations that started their own vaccinations months ago face criticism for buying or ordering more vaccines than they need.

On Wednesday, a total of 600,000 doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University came to Ghana’s capital Accra.

In a joint statement, the WHO and the United Nations children’s fund (Unicef) said it was a “momentous occasion.”

The West African country has recorded above 80,700 cases of coronavirus and 580 deaths since the pandemic started. These numbers are believed to fall short of the actual toll because of low levels of testing.

The Covax scheme was set up by the WHO, the Gavi vaccines alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to prevent poorer countries from being pushed to the back of the queue.

The program is designed, so that richer countries buying vaccines agree to help finance access for poorer nations, too.

It aims to deliver above two billion doses to people in 190 countries in a year. In particular, it wants to fulfill 92 poorer countries will receive access to vaccines simultaneously as 98 wealthier countries.

Most African countries are intended recipients of Covax, but many of them, like Senegal, have been making vaccines outside the initiative.

Covax has faced particular criticism for not moving quickly enough. One WHO board member, Austria’s Dr. Clemens Martin Auer, said it had been slow to secure vaccine deals and deliver doses to countries.

On Wednesday, the joint statement said the shipment to Ghana represented “the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.”

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