Today, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana launched COVID-19 vaccination campaigns aimed at protecting healthcare workers; This week’s first vaccinations come with an additional 11 million doses of COVAX expected to be given over the next seven days; The release of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine allocation to 142 of the participating COVAX economies, due for delivery by the end of May, is expected tomorrow.
As the global deployment of COVAX vaccines accelerates, the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa using doses of COVAX began today in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. These campaigns are among the first to use the doses provided by Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) of the COVAX facility.
AMC is the COVAX Facility’s mechanism for providing donor-funded vaccines to low-income countries.
Campaigns in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire follow deliveries to both countries last week, with Ghana receiving 600,000 doses on February 24 and Cote d’Ivoire 504,000 doses two days later. Both countries have received the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine licensed and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The vaccine, branded COVISHIELD, was granted the Emergency Use List (EUL) from the World Health Organization on February 15.
HE Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, said: “COVID-19 has changed the world. It has claimed lives, damaged health systems and damaged livelihoods. But through these challenges, we have seen the best of humanity illustrated.through strong multilateral cooperation. Ghana welcomes arrival of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines via COVAX AMC as a means of ending the acute phase pandemic. To maximize the public health benefits of the vaccine, the first doses will be prioritized for healthcare workers and essential workers, and other at-risk groups. This important step will allow Ghana to get back into business and to rebuild our economy even stronger than before. ”
The deliveries mark the start of what will be the largest, fastest and most complex global vaccine deployment in history. In total, COVAX aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion to the 92 economies eligible for COVAX AMC support.
Confirmation of the first round allocations, covering the majority of participants in the COVAX Facility, will be published on March 2, 2021. COVAX doses to date have been delivered by SII to India, Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire. Ivory, while Pfizer-BioNTech delivered doses to Republic of Korea. Further deliveries from these two manufacturers are slated for the next few days, with a total of 11 million doses scheduled to be delivered over the next seven days. Additionally, AstraZeneca is expected to start deliveries this week.
COVAX, the global effort to accelerate development and access to COVID vaccines, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, manufacturers and civil society organizations, among others.
“This is a day many of us have dreamed of and worked for for over 12 months,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “It’s gratifying to see the fruit of this work. But success is yet to come. This is only the beginning of what COVAX has been set up to achieve. We still have a long way to go to realize our vision of start vaccination in every country in the country. the first 100 days of the year. There are only 40 days left. “
“As vaccination begins in Côte d’Ivoire, less than a year after COVID-19 was labeled a global pandemic, I am full of confidence and I am sure that thanks to COVAX and international solidarity, we will be able to achieve the maximum at-risk everywhere. Global equitable access to life-saving vaccines is the surest way to save lives and rebuild economies. I would like to thank all the donors as well as the leaders of the G7 group of countries. Today, vaccine policy is the best economic policy, ”said José Manuel Barroso, president of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“The past year has been bleak for families around the world, but the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines has provided a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel. Today, the COVAX Facility is starting to deliver on its promise to make the light shine for all, ”said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF. “This unprecedented global effort has united the international community to identify acceptable vaccines, raise funds to purchase them and lay the groundwork for the world’s largest immunization campaign in history. These vaccines are now rapidly reaching populations in low- and middle-income countries, many of whom would have been left behind without the work of the Facility. It proves what we can accomplish when we all work together – the private sector, the United Nations and development agencies, governments, donors and other partners. “
“This is a historic day in the global fight against COVID-19. Current vaccinations in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are among the first to be administered via COVAX, which will protect several hundred million people most at risk from COVID-19, wherever they are in the world. said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “In the days and weeks to come, COVAX will begin to correct the global imbalance in vaccine deployment, but there is still a long way to go. The spread of new variants of COVID-19 means global access to vaccines is more important than ever, and the global community must remain firmly focused on this goal if we are to end the pandemic.
The start of Africa’s largest vaccination campaign in history through the COVAX Facility marks a step forward in the continent’s fight against COVID-19. This is a welcome shift towards removing African countries from the policy space and returning to the vaccination race, correcting the glaring inequity that has been an unfortunate mark of global vaccine deployment to date. For months, WHO teams in the region and partners have been helping countries plan and prepare for the complex challenges of such a massive immunization campaign. We now look forward to seeing these plans implemented with effective and efficient vaccine deployment, ”Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“The first deliveries of COVAX vaccines to West and Central Africa were a huge first step towards equity and a demonstration of global solidarity,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for Africa. West and Center, Marie-Pierre Poirier. “A few days after the unloading of the vaccine doses, we are already celebrating the first vaccination campaigns against COVID-19, which are starting today in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, aimed at protecting the most vulnerable. We are proud that the countries of West and Central Africa were ready from the start. UNICEF is active on the ground, with WHO and other partners, to support the roll-out of immunization campaigns until everyone is safe. “