President Nana Akufo-Addo has decried moves by some countries in Europe not recognise Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
According to him, “one unfortunate development appears to be the recent measures on entry into some countries in Europe, which suggest that Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, is not recognised by some countries in Europe.”
The President said this on Wednesday when he took his turn to speak at the 76th United Nations General Assembly, currently ongoing in New York, in the United States of America.
His comments come on the heels of the “simplified travel measures” announcement recently, by the UK Government, and, indeed, by some countries in Europe, which comes into effect from 4th October, 2021.
The measures specify that persons who have received double-dose vaccines such as Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or the single shot Janssen vaccine “under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas” will be considered fully vaccinated.
The rules also consider persons who have received jabs under public health bodies in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan as fully vaccinated.
“What is intriguing is the fact that this vaccine was donated to African countries through the COVAX facility. The use of vaccines as a tool for immigration control will be a truly retrogressive step,” the President noted.
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said, has so far received five million doses, which have been administered to frontline health workers and those classified as being most at risk.
“Five million is not a figure to be sneered at, particularly when we consider the situation in many other African countries. We are grateful that our efforts at the management of the pandemic and vaccine distribution have been recognised, and we have received these amounts so far. We are still hoping to vaccinate twenty million of our people by the end of the year,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “Ghana agrees with the call of the Rome Declaration of Global Health for voluntary licensing and technology transfers to boost vaccine production. The Africa Union is working with WHO, WTO and other global partners to expand its vaccine manufacturing and deployment.”
He told the Assembly that Ghana recognised that vaccination is the way to protect populations and revitalise societies.
In the case of Africa, the President stated that vaccinating seventy per cent (70%) of the population in the shortest possible time, as is being done elsewhere in the world, means some nine hundred million Africans have to be vaccinated.
He stressed that the Afreximbank’s structuring of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Taskforce’s $2 billion acquisition of four hundred million Johnson & Johnson vaccines is part of the historic African Union’s Covid-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy.
President Akufo-Addo described it as an “eloquent testimony” to the benefits of domestic production and pooled procurement in Africa, as envisioned by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
COVID-19 has been damaging