ACCRA, 25 February 2021 – Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addos will receive the first jab of the new coronavirus vaccine in Ghana, the Ghanaian presidency said Tuesday.
“President Akufo-Addo will be the first to be vaccinated,” a presidential advisor on health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, told reporters Tuesday within hours of the country receiving a first batch of 600,000 doses of the vaccines.
The move to have the President take the first jab of the vaccines “is to assure Ghanaians that the vaccines are safe,” Nsiah-Asare told reporters.
Ghana received its first batch of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines on Wednesday through COVAX, the global initiative led by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable access at affordable prices to vaccines by low and middle-income countries.
Within hours of the delivery touching down at Kotoko Internationaal Airport in the capital, Accra, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AstraZeneca shared his delight with journalists across newsrooms in Ghana.
“I am delighted that the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered to Ghana through COVAX,” AstraZeneca CEO, Pascal Soriot wrote in an email.
The Castle, Ghana’s Presidency, is making sure Ghanaians do not take their luck for granted.
“We encourage everyone to avail him or herself of the opportunity to be vaccinated. It is safe and we want other Ghanaians abroad to also put out their videos to encourage others in Ghana” to get vaccinated, the presidential advisor on health said.
The Ghanaian government has said its partnership with Gavi-COVAX, UPS Foundation, the Gates Foundation and the Ghana branch of the Rwanda-based Zipline company is at the heart of their plan to rollout a vaccination program that leaves no one behind – not even in the most remote areas of the west African nation.
“This marks a major step forward in changing the course of the pandemic globally,” AstraZeneca CEO Soriot added in his email to reporters.
It is “in the interest of the country, for Ghanaians to… vaccinated,” he added, reminding fellow Ghanaians of the high rate of infection and fatality of the virus.
As of Thursday, Ghana had recorded over 80,000 cases of COVID-19 infections with no fewer than 580 fatalities.
The first batch of 600,000 dosses of the vaccines will be administered to Ghanaian priority groups, including notably frontline health professionals, citizens aged 60 and above, and other high-risk persons.