Healthcare workers get first jabs as Kurdistan Region rolls out Sinopharm vaccine
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s health authorities on Thursday began rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, with healthcare workers first receiving the first doses.
In a health care center in the capital Erbil designated for vaccinations, the first jabs of the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccine were administered to 20 healthcare workers from local intensive care units.
Goran Osman Aziz received the first dose.
“I am happy that I received Covid-19 vaccine as the first person,” Aziz told Kurdistan 24 after he received the shot, saying that he hoped everyone will soon be vaccinated, so “we can get rid of this pandemic.”
On Tuesday, 50,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses landed at Baghdad International Airport, of which 5,000 were sent to Erbil to be distributed to eligible residents of the four provinces administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
“At first, doctors and healthcare workers will receive the vaccine and will be followed by Peshmerga and security service members,” Saman Barzinji, the Region’s health minister, told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
Iraqi health authorities began vaccinating health workers in Baghdad on Tuesday.
The vaccine, a product of the Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, has recently been approved for emergency use in a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose health ministry said the vaccine’s efficacy is 86 percent.
Sinopharm says its COVID-19 vaccine can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2˚C to 8˚C (36˚F to 46˚F), compared to much lower temperatures required for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
In late January, a conference on the COVID-19 vaccination strategy was held in Erbil to discuss the challenges of immunization in Iraq and the autonomous Kurdish region.
Iraq, including its Kurdish region, has so far seen nearly 708,000 COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic in early March 2020 and has recorded over 13,000 fatalities.
Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly