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Covax has delivered its first Covid-19 doses in a milestone for the ambitious programme that seeks to offset “vaccine nationalism” by wealthy countries and ensure poor ones do not wait years to start inoculating people.
An aircraft carrying 600,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine landed in Accra, the capital of Ghana, on Wednesday, where jabs will be administered to frontline health workers on Tuesday. Vaccine doses will arrive on Friday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and will be given from Monday.
Covax aims to distribute enough vaccines over the next six months to inoculate 3% of the population of 145 countries – enough to cover health workers and some of the most vulnerable – and plans to deliver tens of millions more by the end of the year.
“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end,” Anne-Claire Dufay of Unicef Ghana, and the WHO country representative, Francis Kasolo, said in a statement.
Though the programme is low profile and complex in its administration – run by four separate organisations including the vaccine alliances Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) – Covax is quietly radical in its aims, trying to build a mechanism for the equitable distribution of vaccines in the teeth of the worst pandemic in more than a century.
Its 192 members include wealthy countries, whose advance purchases through Covax were used to subsidise vaccine research as well as to secure doses for poorer countries.
It is seen as the only viable alternative to the kind of vaccine free-for-all that prevailed during the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and in the years after Aids treatments were first created. In both cases, poorer countries went without effective pharmaceuticals during the acute phases of the pandemics and received supplies only after they had become plentiful in the wealthy countries.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: First Covax coronavirus vaccines delivered to Ghanaian capital | Society