Ghana Becomes the First Country to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine from the COVAX Program
Ghana became the first country to receive WHO's Covid-19 vaccine distribution program, COVAX, on Wednesday.
The flight carrying 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India landed in the capital of Ghana, Accra.
Local representatives for WHO and the UN children's agency UNICEF called the arrival of the vaccine an "important" step.
"In the days to come, frontline workers will start receiving vaccines, and the next phase in fighting this disease can begin - the largest increase in immunization campaigns in history," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
The delivery comes eight months after the launch of the COVAX initiative, which aims to raise funds from wealthy and non-profit countries to fairly distribute the coronavirus vaccine around the world.
The COVAX vaccine scheme, part of an early stage for low- and middle-income countries, will be used by Ghana to start a vaccination program starting March 2 that will prioritize healthcare workers
Joe Biden to Reveal Mohammed bin Salman's Involvement in Khashoggi Murder
Joe Biden's administration will unveil US intelligence reports on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi on Thursday, which will prove that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved of Khashoggi's murder in 2018, said four US officials with knowledge of the matter.
Officials said the report, of which the CIA was the main contributor, assessed that the crown prince approved and possibly ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who criticized the crown prince's policies in a column in his writing.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat who replaced Republican Donald Trump five weeks ago, told reporters on Wednesday that he had read the report and hoped to speak by phone soon with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, 85, father of son Mohammed bin Salman. (MBS), the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia is 35 years old.
The release of the report is part of Biden's policy of realigning relations with Riyadh after years of giving the Arab ally and major oil producer permission for his human rights record and intervention in Yemen's civil war.
Biden is looking to restore relations with Saudi Arabia to their original path after four years of more comfortable relations under Trump.
White House spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that Biden would only communicate with King Salman and said Khashoggi's unclassified report was being prepared for immediate release.
While Biden limited his contact with the king, other officials in Biden's government spoke to Saudi officials at various levels.
"We have been in contact with Saudi officials at various levels in the early weeks of this administration," said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
59-year-old Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, and killed by a team linked to the crown prince. The team then mutilated his body. Jamal Khashoggi's body has not been found.
After a number of denials were announced, Saudi Arabia finally admitted that Khashoggi was killed in a failed extradition attempt, but it denied the crown prince was involved.
Five men who were sentenced to death for the killings had their sentences commuted to 20 years in prison after being pardoned by Khashoggi's family.
In 2019, a UN human rights investigator, Agnes Callamard, accused Saudi Arabia of carrying out a "deliberate and planned execution" of Khashoggi and called for further investigations.
"There is sufficient credible evidence regarding the responsibility of the crown prince to demand further investigation," Callamard said after a six-month investigation.
Confidential versions of the report were shared with members of Congress in late 2018.
But the Donald Trump administration has rejected demands by lawmakers and human rights groups to release an unclassified version, seeking to maintain cooperation amid escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran and promoting billion-dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Biden's new director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, committed to a confirmation hearing to comply with provisions in a 2019 defense bill requiring the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to release within 30 days an unclassified report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Joe Biden promised during the 2020 presidential campaign to reassess US relations with Saudi Arabia, partly because of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia's role in the Yemen war.