Kurdistan Region thanks China for coronavirus vaccine, warns of difficult road ahead

author_image Hiwa Shilani
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (right) visits a health facility in Erbil, Sept. 21, 2020. (Photo: KRG)
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (right) visits a health facility in Erbil, Sept. 21, 2020. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani thanked China on Tuesday following the arrival that day of the first shipment of 5,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine Beijing donated to the autonomous region of Iraq.

According to a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) statement, Barzani considered it ”an important milestone in our fight against COVID-19 and our ongoing efforts to protect our brave frontline workers.”

“The vaccines will be distributed to designated health centers of all Kurdistani provinces to be administered to frontline healthcare staff,” he added, as soon as a final distribution plan had been ironed out which would also prioritize the vaccination of “security forces, the elderly, and those at risk.”

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) says it has been working in cooperation with the federal government in Baghdad to launch an effective and comprehensive rollout of the vaccine.

Regional Health Minister Saman Barzinji announced earlier in the day that the shipment had arrived on a flight from the Iraqi capital.

Read More: COVID-19: Kurdistan Region receives its first batch of 5,000 vaccine doses

Of the total 50,000 doses that landed at Baghdad International Airport on Monday, 5,000 were sent to Erbil to be distributed to eligible residents of the four provinces administered by the KRG.

Barzani warned, however, that stamping out the highly-contagious disease will not be an easy task and that the vaccine must ultimately be injected into over six million citizens throughout the region.

“We will then mobilize to vaccinate the general population in stages by age, which will, in time, allow us to return to our lives and livelihoods and allow our hard-hit economy to recover.”

The leader expressed his confidence that the Kurdistan Region was at long last “beginning to turn the corner, but the KRG cannot do this alone – everyone must play their part for the good of the general public.” 

“That starts with embracing recent (health) measures,” he urged. “Sticking to the guidelines will save lives.”

Editing by John J. Catherine