Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX program.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was given Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the WHO this month. It will be sent to Ghana under COVAX.
Under the COVAX program, over 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2021.
The COVAX program is led by the vaccine alliance GAVI, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in partnership with UNICEF, vaccine manufacturers, and the World Bank, among others.
The aim is to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally in what is being called the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
The program wants to vaccinate roughly 20 percent of the population in the 92 Advance Market Commitment (AMC) countries, which include middle and lower-income nations that cannot afford to pay for COVID-19 vaccines.
This means countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than US $4000 and some other countries which are eligible under the World Bank International Development Association (IDA).
The funding is partly coming from high and middle-income countries that will also receive a share of the vaccines produced for COVAX.
Oxford-AstraZeneca became the first vaccine manufacturer to sign up under the programme in June 2020, and has guaranteed to supply 300 million doses.
In addition, the program has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Johnson and Johnson for 500 million doses of their single-dose vaccine.