Dominic Raab calls start of Covax rollout a 'huge step forward'

Global bid to prevent virus spread in developing countries gets under way

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UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Monday called the start of the Covax introduction of vaccines “a huge step forward in ending this pandemic”.

His buoyant words came after Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance announced that the first batch of Covax vaccines had arrived in Accra, Ghana.

They arrived on an Emirates flight at Accra's Kotoka International Airport shortly after 7.40am GMT, in images broadcast on television.

Covax initiative delivers first Covid vaccines to Ghana

Covax initiative delivers first Covid vaccines to Ghana

“As one of the biggest donors to Covax the UK is ensuring that more than one billion vaccine doses will be sent to 92 countries so that no one is left behind in this global fight,” Mr Raab said.

“We will only save lives and reduce the risk of future infections if we prevent the virus spreading in the world’s developing countries.”

Covax was launched last April to help ensure a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor nations. It has committed to delivering two billion doses to its members by the end of the year.

The delivery was also welcomed by shipment organisers Unicef and the World Health Organisation.

"We are pleased that Ghana has become the first country to receive the Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax facility," they said in a joint statement.

Ghana’s food and drug authority has authorised the use of the vaccines made in India, as well as the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, local media reported.

The West African country has recorded 80,759 Covid-19 cases and 582 deaths since the start of the pandemic – figures believed to fall short of the real toll owing to insufficient testing.