(4 mins read)
Ivory Coast has now recieved thousands of COVID Vaccines from the UN-Based Covax distribution initiative. Injections started on Monday.
Ghana has also recieved vaccinations from this programme with it’s President; Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday became the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine through this scheme, which he broadcasted on television.
President Akufo-Addo urged people to get the vaccine and not to believe the conspiracy theories casting doubt on the programme.
“It’s important that I set the example that this vaccine is safe by being the first to have it, so that everybody in Ghana can feel comfortable about taking this vaccine,” he said.
The rollout will initially focus on the most vulnerable – those aged over 60 or with serious underlying health issues – and essential workers, such as medical professionals, teachers, police and even some journalists.
But pregnant women and those under the age of 18 are not part of the vaccination campaign.
Authorities have said they do not have enough data on the possible side effects of the vaccines on such groups.
Some Ghanaians have expressed misgivings about the safety of the vaccines. While some believe it is a ploy by the government to reduce the country’s population by making them infertile, others think the vaccines might be fake.
In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, the president stressed that the vaccines had been declared safe by the country’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), and there was no reason to doubt their safety. “Taking the vaccines will not alter your DNA, it will not embed a tracking device in your body, neither will it cause infertility in women or men,” he assured.
In Ivory Coast, people began to queue at vaccination centres early on Monday for their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Nurse Prisca Nguessan told Reuters news agency she hoped vaccinations would “speed up”. “We invite the population to come and get vaccinated because to get vaccinated is a way of breaking the transmission chain.”
The first vaccinations in Ivory Coast and Ghana this week are taking place ahead of a further distribution of 11 million doses to some of the countries signed up to the initiative, Covax said in a statement.
Nigeria is due to take delivery of nearly four million doses of vaccine later this week.
The Covax scheme hopes to deliver more than two billion doses to people in 190 countries in less than a year.
Prof Gavin Yamey, who was involved in setting up the programme, said there was a “huge need” to distribute vaccines worldwide.
Vaccination programmes have been slow to get off the ground in Africa, but the continent has reported relatively few cases and deaths in comparison with many western countries.
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