Ghana has become the first country to receive the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global vaccine-sharing program.
The 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccines arrived Wednesday in the capital, Accra.
This is according to a joint statement from WHO and UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. The vaccines were manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
The statement added that the vaccines sent to Ghana were purchased through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, an initiative launched by WHO in cooperation with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, an organization founded by philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates to vaccinate children in the world’s poorest countries.
The project purchases vaccines with the help of wealthier countries and distributes them equitably to all countries. U.S. President Joe Biden pledged $4 billion to the COVAX program last week.
Recall that the WHO had in December announced that COVAX has secured agreements for nearly two billion doses of several “promising” vaccine candidates.
The supply of vaccines is expected to grow after the U.S. determined that a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson is apparently safe and protects against the disease.