In an effort to further boost its vaccine diplomacy, India has sent six lakh doses of domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines to Ghana. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar took to Twittter on February 24 and confirmed that the western African nation had already received the jabs produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) and was ready to begin its mass inoculation.
The Emirates flight carrying the vaccines touched down at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport shortly after 0740 GMT. All the vaccines received by Ghana are free of cost as the country received them under WHO’s COVAX programme. Health workers and other frontline staff are meant to be among the first to receive doses. Cote d’Ivoire, a country in western Africa, will also get it in the coming days. Co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, the Covax programme aims to expedite vaccine distribution in 92 low and middle-income nations and also support manufacturing capacities so that two billion doses could be freely distributed before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, India has won global praise for its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ programme which aims to aid poor countries amidst the global pandemic. As of now, the country has gifted domestically produced vaccines—Covaxin and Covishield—to over 20 countries, including those in the Caribbean and the Middle East.