“I usually tell my colleagues – I have lived COVID,” says Dr Ali Samba, seated at his desk at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. A sliver of his face is visible between his black kufi cap and white medical mask: salt and pepper eyebrows, gold-rimmed spectacles and a clear gaze. As the Director of Medical Affairs for Ghana’s leading referral hospital and leader of the national COVID-19 case management team, Dr Samba has had a close-up view of the “ravaging effects” of the pandemic on his country. “I know what COVID has cost,” he explains, “socially, economically and in the loss of life.”
Touch-down, and take-off! No sooner had the first 600,000 doses of COVAX vaccine landed in Ghana, preparations were underway to transport some of them to sites where they will soon be launched back into the air, to be delivered to health facilities across the country by autonomous drones.
As part of a new partnership between Zipline, UPS Foundation and the Government of Ghana, up to 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to vaccination sites in the coming weeks and months. UPS Foundation will provide transport to cold chain facilities before doses are loaded into Zipline drones and flown to sites all across the country. The aim is to improve both the speed and access of these precious vaccines by providing on-demand delivery, even to the hardest-to-reach areas in Ghana.
Video message from Aurélia Nguyen, Managing Director, Office of the COVAX Facility
Video message from Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
24 Feb 2021 13:10 CET
COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped by the COVAX Facility head to Ghana, marking beginning of global roll-out
COVAX announces 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed to Serum Institute of India have arrived in Accra, Ghana; further deliveries to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire are expected this week
Final first round of allocations for doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, to the majority of countries and economies participating in the COVAX Facility, anticipated to be published later this week
Beginning of global rollout means that, as readiness criteria are met and doses produced, vaccines will be shipped to Facility participants on a rolling basis
Capturing the moment that the plane touched down and history was made, as the first 600,000 doses of COVAX vaccines arrived in Africa this morning at Kotoka International Airport, in Accra. The first of at least 2 billion doses to be supplied by COVAX in 2021, these doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were flown in overnight from India, where they were manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
The precious cargo was quickly loaded into refrigerated trucks and transported to a vaccine storage facility in preparation for the first vaccinations of health care workers in the coming days.
Yesterday at Serum Institute of India, final preparations were underway for the first shipments of COVAX vaccines ready for transportation to Africa. The first 600,000 doses set off, bound for Ghana.
The first batch of COVAX vaccines has arrived in Ghana this morning
We’re delighted to kick off this live blog with the news that COVAX has just completed its first international delivery. 600,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India have just arrived in Accra, Ghana.
This kicks off a wave of deliveries we’re expecting over the coming weeks and months to 190 economies around the world. Over two billion doses are expected to be rolled out by the end of the year, at least 1.3 billion of which will be going to lower-income countries at no cost to their governments.
Follow us here for regular updates, pictures and video from Gavi and our COVAX partners as arguably the largest and most rapid global rollout of vaccines in history gets underway.
Our first pictures from Accra airport have just come in. These vaccines will now be loaded onto refrigerated trucks to keep the vaccines at the right temperature and taken to the government's vaccine central storage facility, where they will be prepped for roll-out in the coming days.
*SII-AstraZeneca (COVISHIELD) vaccine, licensed and manufactured by Serum Institute of India
**AZ: AstraZeneca (AZD1222) vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca