Owusu Akoto, CEO of Freezelink, receives Africa's first doses of vaccines from COVAX

An Historic Moment in the Fight Against COVID Shows Why Cold Chains Are Key to Global Health and Development

On February 24 the very first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX arrived in Ghana.

COVAX is the international cooperative effort around the development and distribution safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. It is a multilateral platform in which countries have banded together around research, development  and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

One key aspect of COVAX is that it supports the provision of vaccines to countries in the developing world, like Ghana, that may not have the capacity to purchase sufficient doses on their own.

So COVAX is how many developing countries will get the COVID-19 vaccine. And on February 24, Ghana became the first country to receive COVID-19  vaccines through COVAX when 600,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca landed at Kotoka InternationalAirport in Accra.

On hand to receive these doses was an old friend of mine, Owusu Akoto. He is the founder and CEO of a Ghanian cold chain logistics company called Freezelink. The vaccines need to be kept at a very cold temperature to maintain their efficacy, so Freezelink was hired to transport the vaccines from the airport.

It was an historic day for COVAX, a hopeful day for Ghana and an exciting moment for my friend who started this company just a couple years ago as a social enterprise to combat food waste in Ghana. When he texted me some photos from the airport, I knew it would be a great idea to have him come on the show to discuss the events of the day and also the role that cold-chain logistics play in a country’s economic and social development.

The conversation begins with a discussion of the mechanics of how a country like Ghana receives and distributes a shipment of vaccines. We then have a longer conversation about the role of cold chain logistics and technologies in a rapidly developing country like Ghana.


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