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Ghana, I.Coast administer world's first free Covax jabs

The first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo also received a jab, one day before the rest of the 600,000 doses are deployed across the country.

Ghana received 600,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the global Covax scheme on 24 February 2021. Picture: WHO

ACCRA - Ghana and its West African neighbour Ivory Coast on Monday became the world's first states to administer vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure free COVID-19 jabs for poorer countries.

Richer nations have surged ahead with inoculating their population, but many poorer countries are still awaiting their first vaccine doses.

"It is 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," Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, 76, said before receiving a shot of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast.

The first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo also received a jab, one day before the rest of the 600,000 doses are deployed across the country.

In Ivory Coast a short while later, Patrick Achi, President Alassane Ouattara's spokesman, was vaccinated in a tent vaccination centre set up in a sports complex in Abidjan, the country's economic hub.

Getting the jab, said Achi, was a "patriotic duty."

Vaccination "offers the hope of a return to normal in the coming months," he said.

Ivorian Health Minister Eugene Aka Ouele said the first batch of 504,000 vaccines would be distributed in the Abidjan area, "the epicentre of the country's epidemic."

Members of the armed forces and security services followed Achi in getting their immunisation.

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