No fewer than seven million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the Africa continent, where after months of waiting on the sidelines for the coveted vaccines, many of the first group of countries to receive them are rapidly vaccinating their batch of high-risk groups.
Many countries have accessed the vaccines through the COVAX Facility in India, bilateral deals, and donations.
Altogether, 38 African countries have received more than 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and 30 have started mass vaccination exercises already.
Through the COVAX initiative, which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with UNICEF, more than 16 million vaccine doses have so far been shipped to 27 countries, Ghana being the first country to receive them in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Although Africa received vaccines late and in limited quantities, a lot of ground has been covered in a short space of time.
This is due to the continent’s vast experience in mass vaccination campaigns and the determination of its leaders and people to effectively curb COVID-19,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“Compared with countries in other regions that accessed vaccines much earlier, the initial rollout phase in some African countries has reached a far higher number of people.” he added.
Many countries including Ghana are hoping to vaccinate up to 80% of their entire population by the close of 2021.
Ghana started her mass vaccination exercise on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 after receiving a donation of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccine from the Covax facility and has already vaccinated over 500,000 people so far.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare said 2 million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected in the country by March ending and arrangements are also underway to bring in more supplies including the Sputnik-V to beef up stock.
Ghana hopes to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of the year.