In Accra, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo became the first person in the world to receive an injection of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine funded by Covax, an initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO). “It is important that I lead by example and show that this vaccine is safe by being the first person to receive it, so that everyone in Ghana feels comfortable getting the vaccine,” said the chief of staff. the state.
Shortly after in Abidjan, it was the turn of Patrick Achi, secretary general of the Ivorian presidency, to be vaccinated in the popular district of Treichville. A vaccination center has been set up there in the courtyard of the sports hall where a huge tent has been set up, housing boxes for vaccination. Getting vaccinated is “a patriotic duty,” said Achi, adding that vaccination offers “hope for a return to normal in the months to come”.
The Ivorian Minister of Health, Eugène Aka Ouélé, indicated that the first phase of the campaign concerned only Abidjan and its district which are “the epicenter of the epidemic at the country level with 95% of the positive cases”. After Mr. Achi, members of the defense and security forces were in turn vaccinated. “We are in contact with the population and we ourselves have children,” said a soldier, Mamdou Ouattara, explaining the importance of vaccination for soldiers and police.
The Covax system aims to provide anti-Covid vaccines to 20% of the population of nearly 200 participating countries and territories this year, but most importantly it includes a funding mechanism that allows 92 low and middle income economies to access in precious doses. It was put in place to try to prevent rich countries from monopolizing all the doses of vaccine which are still manufactured in too small quantities to meet global demand.
Rich countries “undermine” Covax
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO recently welcomed the arrival of these vaccines in Africa, but however accused some rich countries of “undermining” Covax and of “approaching manufacturers to ensure access to additional vaccine doses ”.
Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire were last week the first two countries to receive two days apart, Wednesday and Friday, the first doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, respectively 600,000 in Accra and 504,000 in Abidjan. Ultimately, Ghana plans to vaccinate 20 of its 30 million inhabitants before the end of the year, Côte d’Ivoire nearly 70% of its population of 25 million.
If in Ghana beaches, nightclubs, cinemas and pubs continue to be banned, no restrictive measure is imposed in Côte d’Ivoire apart from the wearing of compulsory masks in closed places.
Vaccination campaigns outside the Covax system have already been launched in several African countries: Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with 200 million inhabitants, will receive on Tuesday nearly four million doses of vaccine financed by the Covax device. To help speed up the vaccination of the continent’s 1.3 billion inhabitants, the African Union (AU) said it had obtained 270 million doses of Covid vaccine to be distributed this year.