irector-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has warned the Nigerian government against trade restrictions and bureaucracy for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports Dr Okonjo-Iweala gave the warning on Wednesday as Ghana becomes the first African country to receive shipment of COVAX vaccines.
“Very happy to see first delivery of #COVAX supported vaccines to Ghana. Excited to see more countries following. Nigeria’s supplies should be on its way soon. No trade restrictions or bureaucracy should get in the way,” Dr Okonjo-Iweala stated.
Very happy to see first delivery of #COVAX supported vaccines to Ghana. Excited to see more countries following. Nigeria’s supplies should be on its way soon. No trade restrictions or bureaucracy should get in the way. @WTO must be part of the solution. @gavi @ACTAccelerator https://t.co/FzX8BHgCa9
— Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) February 24, 2021
Today’s #COVAX announcement kicks off a wave of deliveries to 190 economies. Over two billion doses are expected to be rolled out by the end of 2021, at least 1.3 billion of which will be going to lower-income countries at no cost to the governments.
Ghana received the COVAX vaccines 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.
UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay and Dr Francis Kasola, WHO Representative to Ghana, in a joint statement on Wednesday said that the first shipment signifies the beginning of the path to recovery for Ghanaians.
“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end.
“The only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available for all. We thank all partners that are supporting the COVAX Facility to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all countries quickly and fairly.
“These 600,000 COVAX vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine licensed to the Serum Institute of India, which represent part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries.
“The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.’’
“The COVAX Facility plans to deliver close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year. This is an unprecedented global effort to make sure all citizens have access to vaccines.
“We are pleased that Ghana has become the first country to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility.
“We congratulate the Government of Ghana especially the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Information for the relentless efforts to protect the population.
“As part of the UN Country Team in Ghana, UNICEF and WHO reiterate our commitment to support the vaccination campaign and contain the spread of the virus, in close cooperation with all partners, including Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
“Vaccines save lives. As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy, including better access to health, education and protection services.
“In the spirit of Universal Health Coverage, let’s leave no one behind,’’ the statement said.