Ghana receives 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to tackle COVID-19

Airport workers transfer COVID-19 vaccines at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, capital of Ghana, Feb. 24, 2021. The government of Ghana Wednesday took the delivery of 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India, becoming the first country to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. (Ministry of Information of Government of Ghana/Handout via Xinhua)

Ghana’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic received a boost on Friday after a consignment of 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines was received at Kotoka International Airport in the capital, Accra.

FILE PHOTO: Airport workers transfer COVID-19 vaccines at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, capital of Ghana. (Ministry of Information of Government of Ghana/Handout via Xinhua)

The Oxford-AstraZeneca doses were from the COVAX facility and had been redistributed from the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).

“This shipment will support Ghana’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate vulnerable groups, including health workers and the elderly,” the W.H.O. said.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Health Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, who received the consignment, described the arrival of the vaccines as a “big relief”.

“Even if you have the money to buy, it is not easy these days to get them,” he said. “So this is very timely and a big relief for the country,” Oku-Afari told reporters.

In February, Ghana received 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines made by the Serum Institute of India, the first such consignment acquired through the COVAX Facility. It also received 50,000 doses of vaccines from India and a further 165,000 doses from telecoms giant MTN.

Ghana is among a select number of countries to have exhausted its vaccine supply dealing a setback to its immunization campaign.

The director-general of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said the delay in receiving additional COVID-19 vaccines has been caused by a global scramble for vaccines and the unavailability of vaccines.

According to the GHS, Ghana has vaccinated close to 850,000 people since a mass vaccination campaign began on March 2. The government hopes to vaccinate about 20 million people by the end of 2021.

Ghana has so far reported 92,856 confirmed cases, 90,480 recoveries and 783 deaths.

(Story compiled with input from Xinhua)