Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Tuesday dispatched its first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine shots for the COVAX vaccination initiative. Under this initiative, Ghana became the first country to receive vaccines.
COVAX (Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access) is a global scheme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to distribute Covid-19 vaccines across the world, especially in poorer countries.
Ghana received 600,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine. The shipment arrived at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport by an Emirates flight. A government delegation headed by the Minister for Health Designate Kwaku Agyeman Manu received the vaccines.
The vaccinations are scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Accra, Kumasi, and Obuasi. Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said that the country will start vaccinating health workers, other frontline staff, adults aged above 60, and people with underlying health conditions.
While commenting on the delivery of the shipment, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta H Fore tweeted: “Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard. With the first shipment of doses, we can make good on the promise of the COVAX Facility to ensure people from less wealthy countries are not left behind in the race for life-saving vaccines.”
CEO of SII Adar Poonawalla said: “COVAX receives its first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by SII, Covishield. We are delighted to see the combined efforts of everyone result in saving the lives of millions. SII will continue to be at the forefront of fighting the pandemic with affordable and immunogenic vaccines.”