President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana on Monday became the world’s first recipient of a coronavirus vaccine from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for free to “poorer” countries.
“Richer” countries have surged ahead with inoculating their population, but many “poorer” countries (according to news report) are still awaiting their first vaccine doses.
“It is important that I set the example that this vaccine is safe by being the first to have it so that everybody in Ghana can feel comfortable about taking this vaccine,” the 76-year old president said before receiving a shot of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast.
The first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo also received a shot, one day before the rest of the 600,000 doses are deployed across the country.
Ghana’s food and drug authority last month authorised the Indian-made vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V, as the government aims to target 20 of its 30 million population by year’s end.
Last Wednesday, Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines from Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Some 145 participating economies are set to receive 337.2 million doses by mid-year – enough to vaccinate a little over 3% of their combined populations.
Covax has said it hopes to raise the figure to up to 27% in lower-income countries by the end of December.
Ghana has recorded 84,023 Covid-19 cases and 607 deaths since the start of the pandemic, although the true figure is believed to be higher due to lack of testing.
Schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but large social gatherings are banned and land and sea borders have remained closed since March 2020.
Despite the vaccine roll-out, the president said that all the current restrictions to curb the spread of the virus were to remain in place.
It is also important to note that there have also been wide concern on the safety of the coronavirus vaccine. Another angle is the need to enforce vaccine on African countries that have been labelled poor and must be aided by richer countries in procuring the vaccine.
Mistrust and patchy communication have contributed to growing scepticism about Covid-19 vaccines in African countries, with people getting warier of Covid-19 jabs than they would be of other vaccines.
The high level of skepticism and wariness can be traced to suspicion of government elites and some vaccine mishaps
One prevalent theory, for example, holds that the Covid-19 vaccines are designed to quell Africa’s population growth. The adverse effect of vaccine shots on some people further sealed the fear of covid vaccines in the heart of many.
in any case, some countries have refused to take part in vaccination. In late January, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli dismissed Covid jabs as “dangerous for our health”.