At last hope is here as Ghana has received 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. This is the first consignment of vaccines acquired through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) which Ghana, among 92 countries, has signed unto. This makes Ghana the first country in the world to receive the vaccines under this facility.

The vaccines arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in the morning of Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Government officials, health workers and some diplomats were at the airport to receive the vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccination schedule in Ghana

Vaccination is expected to start from March 2, 2021.The Covid-19 vaccination will be conducted in phases among segmented populations. Health workers, adults 60 years and above, people with underlying health conditions, government officials, members of Parliament, the judiciary, frontline security personnel, teachers, and other essential workers will be prioritized in the first phase of the vaccination.

Besides this, a segmented population in the Greater Kumasi and Obuasi municipalities will also be covered in phase one.
“After a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 80,700 Ghanaians getting infected with the virus and over 580 lost lives, the path to recovery for the people of Ghana can finally begin,” UNICEF said in a statement to mark the occasion.

A statement from the Ministry of Information said: “the Government of Ghana remains resolute at ensuring the welfare of all Ghanaians and is making frantic efforts to acquire adequate vaccines to cover the entire population through bilateral and multilateral agencies. We urge you to do your part by ensuring that you get vaccinated when the vaccine gets to you.”

Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in Ghana

Government has indicated it will use the COVAX facility to procure vaccines for 20 percent (approximately 6 million) of the population. But the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its Ghana report for February 2021, said that target may not be fruitful under the facility until mid-year 2022.

“The vaccines will not be available in large enough quantities in the coming months to be game-changing. Logistics and shipping will also be difficult. We therefore maintain our view that vaccines will not be widely available for the general population in developed economies before mid-2021.

Access to the vaccine will be difficult initially as all developed countries race to acquire sufficient quantities and poorer countries struggle to secure funding. As a result, the rollout in middle-income and emerging countries will take much longer; we do not expect it to take place on a significant scale before 2022.

Ghana will not see an immediate return to normality in 2021, and is only likely to obtain vaccines for 20 percent of the population (some 6m people) through the COVAX Facility during their first 18 months of availability,” the report said.