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First doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to hit Iraq by February

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Jan 11, 2021

Iraq is anticipated to obtain its first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by February, in response to Iraq’s Health Minister on Monday. 

Last month, the ministry introduced it had signed a preliminary take care of the vaccine makers to import 1.5 million doses by early 2021. Health Ministry spokesperson Saif al-Badr confirmed this week with state-owned newspaper al-Sabah that Iraq’s share of the vaccine is now eight million doses, sufficient to cowl 20% of the nation’s inhabitants. Troops, well being care employees and the aged are prioritized for vaccines, Badr had stated in December. 

“The distribution will be made to all governorates through hospitals to be determined through the media and according to priority,” he informed al-Sabah on Monday. “The vaccine will not be compulsory at all.”

Iraq remains to be in talks to obtain extra vaccines by way of COVAX, a world physique to advertise international entry to coronavirus vaccines for these in biggest want, in addition to being open to different channels.

Iraqi leaders have expressed their want to offer the vaccine totally free to their residents. But the nation would want worldwide help to distribute the vaccine on the federal government’s dime, President Barham Salih urged the United Nations in December. 

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“Iraq is among the countries whose governments will purchase and distribute vaccines free of charge to their citizens,” Salih stated. “But this project is taking place in a volatile and complex economic situation, one that is already causing our people to suffer.”

Iraq has pushed onerous in current months to be among the many world’s first international locations to obtain the vaccine. In October, Baghdad dedicated $170 million to COVAX to safe the vaccine, in response to the World Health Organization. 

That similar month, the World Bank introduced a $12 billion fund to help international locations in financing the acquisition and distribution of vaccines, assessments and coverings for its residents. Riyadh al-Halfi, head of the final directorate at Iraq’s Health Ministry, confirmed to state media that Iraq can be among the many international locations receiving World Bank help. 

Iraq has been amongst one of many hardest-hit international locations within the area. As of Sunday, the nation has registered over 600,000 confirmed circumstances of the virus and nearly 13,000 deaths; nevertheless, after a surge in September, circumstances dropped considerably by the top of 2021.

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