UK-donated COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Ghana

A shipment of 249,000 UK-donated AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, has arrived at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.

A statement issued by the British High Commission in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the vaccines would be deployed across Ghana for those most in need of them.

It said the vaccines were met at KIA by senior officials from the High Commission and representatives of the Ministry of Health of Ghana,  including Dr Joseph Whittle, the Chargé d’affaires and Uzoamaka Gilpin, the UK Health Adviser to Ghana, Madam Tina Mensah, Deputy Minister of Health and Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana.

The statement said the shipment was part of a broader pledge made by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 meeting in June.

It noted that the UK would share 100 million jabs with the rest of the world, of which 80 per cent would be through the COVAX initiative.

The statement disclosed that the UK had already donated some five million vaccine doses to COVAX and three million of those doses would be sent to countries across Africa.

Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia are among the countries to have already received vaccines.

Speaking at Kotoka International Airport, Dr Whittle, said: “Today’s shipment signals another step forward in Ghana’s vaccine programme. It means 249,600 front-line health workers, vulnerable people most at risk from COVID-19 and those in need of their vital second jab have access to vaccinations and better protection against COVID-19 variants.”

“Our shared commitment to overcome COVID-19 has only strengthened the UK-Ghana partnership, and this is reflected by the fact that Ghana is one of the first countries in the world receiving UK-donated vaccines.”

The statement said the UK had been at the forefront of the global response to COVID-19, including through investing £90 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

It said more than half a billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been delivered at a non-profit price globally, with two-thirds going to lower and middle-income countries.

The statement restated that the UK kick-started efforts to establish COVAX in 2020, providing a total of £548 million to fund vaccines for lower-income countries.

It said the scheme had delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including in 83 lower-middle-income countries.

It said 65 per cent of the initial vaccine doses had been Oxford-AstraZeneca; adding that COVAX aims to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries around the world by early 2022.

Mr Dominic Raab, the UK Foreign Secretary, said: “Three million doses of UK-donated vaccines are now arriving in 11 countries across Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, to help the fight against COVID-19”.

“This is the first batch of 80 million being donated via COVAX – because we know no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

The UK continues to support Ghana’s COVID-19 response, putting UK experts at the heart of Ghana’s Health Service and the Ministry of health, supporting the Ministry of Health to expand quality COVID-19 treatment and testing in 40 underserved districts whilst ensuring continuation of essential health services for women and children.

Source: GNA

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