Ghana is the first African country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the UN-backed COVAX program. This historic occasion happened on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, marking a crucial step in helping the country to cope with coronavirus. In a joint statement after the arrival of the vaccines in Accra, the WHO Ghana and UNICEF Ghana representatives said,
“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end. The only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available for all. We thank all partners that are supporting the COVAX Facility to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all countries quickly and fairly.”
Other West African nations including Nigeria and Ivory Coast will receive or begin their vaccine distribution between the first and third of March 2021.
NEWS: Nigeria scheduled to take delivery of 3.92m doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Tue,March 2, 2021. The delivery will mark the 1st arrival of COVID-19 vaccine in the country & make Nigeria the next West African country to benefit from the COVAX Facility after Ghana & Cote d’Ivoire. pic.twitter.com/nCoJoutM7C
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) February 28, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
The delivery of 600,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses is a part of the first round of free deliveries to dozens of lower- and middle-income nations. This is one of the initiatives by COVAX, a coalition formed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vaccine Alliance (Gavi). Donations from foundations, multilateral institutions, and governments are funding this coalition to ensure equitability in vaccine distribution.
The mission of COVAX is to purchase COVID-19 vaccines in bulk and distribute them at subsidized cost or for free. So, COVAX has secured nearly 2.3 billion vaccine doses for distribution in 2021. Out of these, 1.8 billion will be sent to 92 of the poorest nations in the world, with the majority being offered at no cost. Thus, WHO is using the COVAX program to offer coronavirus vaccine to developing countries that cannot compete with wealthy nations. The vaccine is manufactured by an Indian biotechnology company, Serum Institute of India.
According to Gavi, Africa will receive 450 million doses by the end of 2021. Also, the COVID-19 vaccine will be supplied to other parts of the world by December. Southeast Asia will receive 595 million doses while 280 million doses will be distributed in the United States. Likewise, Middle East will get 355 million coronavirus doses by end of the year.
Reactions trailing the arrival of COVID-19 Vaccine in GhanaWith a population of 30 million people, Ghana has so far recorded over 80,700 cases and close to 600 deaths. So, the West African country will launch a coronavirus vaccination drive on 2nd March. According to the Ghanaian government,
“The first segment of the population that will receive the 600,000 doses will be health workers, adults 60 years and over, people with underlying health conditions.”
Some citizens believe that this move will help to combat the coronavirus. However, like the case with many parts of the world, other Ghanaians are doubting the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Also, some do not have faith in their public leaders. This is because many African governments have for long shown inadequate care for the economic, social, and physical welfare of their citizens.
Ghanaians welcome COVID-19 Vaccine
The announcement by the Ministry of Information Ghana on Twitter received mixed reactions. Some believe it is a step in the right direction. Below are some of the reactions from Ghanaians.
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 1, 2021
Health workers and teachers are some of the first people to receive COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) March 1, 2021
Distrust of the Government‘s Intentions
Some Ghanaians are skeptical concerning the way their government is responding to the current health crisis. In particular, they think that the government does not have their best interest at heart. Also, the fear of the unknown is making many worry about the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are some reactions.
The vaccination should start from the presidency, parliament, ministry, in that order and then down to we the minors…
They signed for it hence have a taste before it gets down to the minors…anyone with me on this?
— Ø.R.G.E.S.T.Y.N.N (@nana_cyei) February 24, 2021
Corona is a business In Africa for our leaders. I believe in corona but the deaths are not true. Do we have the testing institutions to test the validity and percentage of the cure? WHO is even dangerous than the virus.
— MUTALA (@muttalmuteet) February 24, 2021
The vaccines are free sir. Talk of testing capacity, you are just following the masses. You took BCG and POLIO vaccines at birth provided by WHO. You survived the childhood killer diseases only to spew garbage years later on Twitter. Vaccine preventable diseases kills 1000s
— Hope and Pray (@opambouragy) February 24, 2021
This tweet is misleading. All side effects experienced are expected eg headaches & pain at injection site which usually resolve by themselves after 2-3 days also the vaccine offers 100% protection against severe illness so don’t let the 62% efficacy against mild disease stop you
— Sage (@Apothecary_Andy) February 24, 2021
Sarcasm about COVAX Vaccine
Several Ghanaians have also expressed their sarcasm about the coronavirus vaccine. According to some, their country is so rich with natural resources. Yet, it is still regarded as a poor country. Also, others wonder why Ghana cannot develop its own vaccine with all the research centers in the county. Here are some of the comments.
— TAGOR 💦_👊🏽𓋹®™🇬🇭 (@RASNANATAGOR) February 24, 2021
So upon all the research centers, medical schools etc we've in the country, they couldn't combine, nim tree, prɛkɛsɛ, nunum, hwenteaa, ginger, guava leaves, mango backs, bɔkɔbɔkɔ, dawadawa, sukam, fam wisa,suro wisa, cinnamon, kontonmire, etc to get us a vaccine ? 😪
— Luffy⚪🐵 (@kt_manuel) February 24, 2021
Given these and other reactions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, all eyes will be on Ghanaians to see whether they will accept or refuse to take the vaccine. The initial vaccination drive targets 20 million people, with the country aiming to vaccinate the entire population in the coming months. How do you think the government can restore confidence in the people to take the vaccine? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.