Ghana on Wednesday became the first nation to receive coronavirus vaccines through the global COVAX initiative, a partnership supported by UNICEF in West Africa.
“The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,” said UNICEF in a statement. “The COVAX Facility plans to deliver close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year. This is an unprecedented global effort to make sure all citizens have access to vaccines.”
The UN agency for children said the first shipment of doses means “we can make good on the promise” of vaccine access so people from less wealthy countries are not forgotten. Frontline workers will be among the first to receive vaccines as Ghana launches its effort with 600,000 doses.
Ghana has seen more than 80,700 cases and 580 COVID-related fatalities since the pandemic began in China in December 2019. UNICEF Representative in Ghana Anne-Claire Dufay, above, was on hand for the vaccines’ arrival at the airport.
“Vaccines save lives,” said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. “As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy, including better access to health, education and protection services. In the spirit of Universal Health Coverage, let’s leave no one behind.”