First shipment of COVID-19 vaccine set to arrive in Kurdistan Region

Hospital workers in the Kurdistan Region (File)

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SULAIMANI — A year to the day that the first local coronavirus cases were announced, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Health Saman Barzinji said that the first COVID-19 vaccine shipment will arrive in the Kurdistan Region on Monday (March 1).

Barzinji said during a press conference on Sunday that the first batch includes 5,000 doses of the Chinese-produced Sinopharm vaccine. It will be examined on arrival and then distributed to the health directorates in the governorates in accordance with preapproved procedures.

The Consulate General of China in Erbil has asked that twenty percent of the doses are reserved for its staff and Chinese nationals in the Region.

The remaining 4,000 doses are enough to vaccinate 2,000 people, with two doses required for each person in order to reach full effectiveness.

Barzinji said that the initial shipment is not enough to vaccinate all of the Region’s healthcare workers, but they expect additional shipments later this month.

Earlier, the federal Ministry for Health said that the Pfizer vaccine had been expected to arrive in Iraq in recent days, but that the company had asked the government to issue a law protecting the company from liability before it shipped the drug.

According to the KRG’s health ministry, there have been 108,954 officially-recorded cases of coronavirus infection in the Kurdistan Region and 3,519 have died from COVID-19, the lung disease caused by coronavirus infection.

On March 1, 2020, the ministry said that it had identified the first four cases of coronavirus infection in the Kurdistan Region. The first patients had recently arrived in Sulaimani from Iran, which was one of the first countries to be hit hard by the pandemic.

(NRT Digital Media)