After a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 80,000 Ghanaians getting infected with the virus and over 600 lost lives, Ghana is set to roll out the first phase of vaccination across the country.
With an estimated number of 20 million people to benefit from the vaccination, the UNICEF Representative to Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay noted that this is a giant step towards protecting citizens and winning the fight against the pandemic.
According to her, the arrival of the vaccines is a momentous occasion, as it is critical in ending the pandemic. She noted that the only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available for all.
Currently, there are 600,000 COVAX vaccines, which are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine licensed to the Serum Institute of India, which represent part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries.
Anne-Claire Dufay added, “The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. 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.”
On his part, WHO Representative to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo said “We are pleased that Ghana has become the first country to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. ”We congratulate the Government of Ghana – especially the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, and Ministry of Information – for its relentless efforts to protect the population.”
He stressed the importance of vaccination noting that as health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, WHO and UNICEF 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”, he encouraged.
Mr. Kasolo added that “As part of the UN Country Team in Ghana, UNICEF and WHO reiterate our commitment to support the vaccination campaign and contain the spread of the virus, in close cooperation with all partners, including Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).”
WHO and UNICEF expressed gratitude to all partners that are supporting the COVAX Facility to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all countries quickly and fairly.
Whilst it not compulsory to receive the vaccine, President Akufo-Addo has also encouraged that all Ghanaians take the jab stressing its efficacy as he took his jab at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra yesterday.
““The vaccine will help protect us against the impact of Covid-19 on our health. It is also a major catalyst restoring livelihoods and the national economy to the robust level it belongs. As President, I want to assure that the vaccine is safe”, he emphasized.