Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday became the world’s first recipient of the coronavirus vaccine from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for free for poorer countries.
“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 the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast.
COVAX, which is led by the GAVI vaccines alliance along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, aims to deliver nearly 2 billion doses to over 90 countries, covering up to 20 percent of their populations.
The initiative hopes to level a playing field that has seen wealthier nations vaccinate millions while comparatively few have received shots in poorer parts of the world. Only a handful of African countries have begun inoculating their citizens with vaccines purchased bilaterally or received as donations.
Even with free doses from COVAX, many poorer countries will struggle to reach herd immunity any time soon and must find financing for distribution and community outreach.