Ghana will receive about 2.4 million initial doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by end of February, the UN COVAX facility has confirmed.
Per an interim distribution forecast published on Wednesday, the consignment is part of 240 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines licensed to Serum Institute of India (AZ/SII) earmarked for initial distribution to countries signed onto the platform.
Some 144 developing countries will also receive the vaccines subject to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Use List (EUL) within the same period.
“For AZ/SII and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine under the advance purchase agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and AstraZeneca (AZ) indicative distribution, delivery is estimated to begin as of late February, subject toWHO EUL, manufacturing supply capacity and completion of pre-requisites,” a statement issued on its website said.
According to COVAX, the vaccines are expected to cover an average of 3.3 per cent of the total population of 145 participants receiving the doses.
“This is in line with the facility target to reach at least three per cent population coverage in all countries in the first half of the year, enough to protect the most vulnerable groups such as health care workers,” it said.
President Akufo-Addo in his address to the nation last Sunday disclosed plans to vaccinate the entire population with an initial 20 million people targeted for the first phase.
He hinted that the earliest vaccine would be in the country by March, with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) expected to use its established processes for granting emergency use authorisation for each vaccine in Ghana, emphasising that only safe COVID-19 vaccine would be administered in the country.
“Our aim is to vaccinate the entire population, with an initial target of 20 million people. Through bilateral and multilateral means, we are hopeful that by the end of June, a total of 17.6 million vaccine doses would have been procured for the Ghanaian people,” he said.
“As President of the Republic, I assure you that only vaccines that have been evaluated and declared as safe-for-use in Ghana will be administered,” he assured.
Meanwhile, Presidential Advisor on health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare has explained government’s vaccine roll-out plan upon arrival in the country by March 2021.
According to him, four categories of persons have been marked for the receipt of the vaccines.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the segments were frontline workers, people with some form of health risk and co-morbidities, workers who offer essential services and the arms of government and remaining population.
COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to this pandemic.
Bringing together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy, the platform aims to provide innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
Coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, COVAX hopes to ensure that people in all corners of the world get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available, regardless of their wealth.
By ABIGAIL ANNOH