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The World Health Organization is working to make sure all nations have equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines. Find out how the Covax program works here.

Covax: Inside the WHO’s initiative to spread a COVID vaccine across the world

Thanks to the World Health Organization-backed Covax program, Ghana just became the first country outside India to receive COVID-19 vaccines through its system. The program, which was created with the intended purpose of providing at least two billion vaccination doses to lower-income countries, has set off to begin eliminating the pandemic all around the world, and not just to those who can afford it.

Receiving the first vaccines

The World Health Organization & the United Nations Children’s Fund confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine had been officially delivered to Ghana at the nation’s capital in Accra. 

According to Bloomberg, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah confirmed that the first person who will receive the shots delivered thanks to COVAX will be seventy-six year old President Nana Akufo-Addo, who is scheduled to take the shot on March 2. President Nana Akufo-Addo will be taking the shot to help others build trust in the vaccine’s efficacy. 

Bloomberg also added that the nation “is expecting up to 2.4 million doses from the program, according to Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, a Ghana Health Service epidemiologist. The actual number of vaccines Ghana receives from Covax will depend on market availability, he said”.

Good news

Government data has reported that since Ghana’s first reported cases of the coronavirus last March, the nation has recorded 81,245 infections from the illness and 584 deaths. As COVID-19 continues to spread across the nation, a program like COVAX is desperately needed to help slow down and eventually eradicate the spread of illness. 

Adar Poonawalla, Serum’s chief executive officer, also said in a statement: “We are delighted to see the combined efforts of everyone result in saving the lives of millions.” Poonawalla added that the biggest vaccine creator in the world “will continue to be at the forefront of fighting the pandemic with affordable and immunogenic vaccines”.

Bloomberg verified that “Africa’s top gold producer is also working to purchase doses directly from manufacturers in a bid to inoculate its 30 million people. Its vaccination drive will prioritize health workers, people with underlying health conditions, and security personnel in its first stage”.

The importance of Covax

The goal of COVAX is to ensure that ninety poorer nations will receive access to COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as ninety-eight wealthier nations, and it hopes to deliver over two billion shots to 190 countries in under a year. The People’s Vaccine Alliance said in December that “Rich nations representing just 14% of the world’s population had bought up more than half (53%) of all the most promising vaccines”.

“COVAX’s mission is to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible by enabling global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines”, said Dr. Seth Berkley, who is CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Today’s delivery takes us another step closer to this goal and is something the whole world can be proud of. 

“Over the coming weeks, COVAX must deliver vaccines to all participating economies to ensure that those most at risk are protected, wherever they live. We need governments and businesses now to recommit their support for COVAX and help us defeat this virus as quickly as possible”.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General also added: “Today is a major first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it’s just the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do with governments and manufacturers to ensure that vaccination of health workers and older people is underway in all countries within the first 100 days of this year”.

“We will not end the pandemic anywhere unless we end it everywhere”, Ghebreyesus emphasized. 

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