600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday. This marks the first global delivery of vaccines from the COVAX Facility, the initiative to ensure equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines.
Ghana expects to receive more doses from the facility in the coming months. The COVAX Facility released its forecast of how many doses each country could expect earlier this month. For Ghana, this included 2.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford that the facility expects to deliver over the first half of the year.
These doses were donated to the country and provided by the Serum Institute of India. The government plans to start administering the vaccines on March 1.
There are more than 80,700 reported cases of COVID-19 in Ghana and over 580 reported deaths.
Why it matters: This is the first delivery of what is expected to be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, according to a statement from UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
“Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard. With the first shipment of doses, we can make good on the promise of the COVAX Facility to ensure people from less wealthy countries are not left behind in the race for life-saving vaccines,” Henrietta Fore, executive director at UNICEF, wrote in a press release.
What’s next: According to its forecasts, the facility plans to deliver about 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year. This includes 240 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine supplied through SII; 96 million doses of the same vaccine, under an advance purchase agreement, that are expected during the first half of the year; and 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine expected in the first quarter of this year.