First Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in Kurdistan Region, new batch of Sinopharm on the way

More than 2,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Kurdistan Region on April 11, 2021. (Photo: Archive)
More than 2,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Kurdistan Region on April 11, 2021. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s health authorities on Sunday received more than 2,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, with a new batch of the Chinese Sinopharm expected on Monday.

The American-German Pfizer jabs – the first for the Kurdistan Region – were received by local officials in the capital Erbil on Sunday night after nearly 50,000 doses landed in Iraq earlier in the day.

From the 49,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine given to Iraq, the Kurdistan Region’s share is 2,070, which will be equally distributed among its three provinces of Duhok, Sulaimani, and Erbil, according to the Region’s health minister, Saman Barzinji, who spoke to reporters on Sunday.

Each Kurdish province has dedicated two centers for the Pfizer vaccines, which overall make up six vaccination locations, according to the minister.

In Duhok province, Azadi hospital and Gullan center in Akre district have been designated for the jabs, while Erbil province’s centers are Rizgari hospital and the COVID-19 center in its Soran district, the minister said. Sulaimani’s Pfizer vaccination centers include Shaheed (Martyred) Hemin Hospital and Sulaimani’s Prevention Directorate.

New Batch of Sinopharm Vaccine Due

A new delivery of the Sinopharm vaccine will arrive in the Kurdistan Region on Monday. The Region’s share will be 20,000 doses of the 200,000 that were sent to Iraq, according to Barzinji.

The Chinese vaccine was the first coronavirus vaccine to arrive in Iraq in early March, with 50,000 initial doses donated by Chinese authorities to the Iraqi government, of which the Region received 5,000 doses.

KRG Negotiates Deals with Vaccine-makers

The current available vaccines in Iraq and its autonomous region have so far all been provided by the Iraqi health ministry. But the Kurdistan Region is in talks with various vaccine makers to get its hands on the vaccines for its population.

Currently the Kurdistan Region is distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University in the UK, along with the Sinopharm and Pfizer versions.

“We are in initial agreements with major vaccine producers like AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Sinopharm,” the Kurdish health minister said, adding the talks are ongoing and final agreement has not been made yet.

Read More: Kurdistan Region launches online COVID-19 vaccine registration in Erbil

The Kurdistan Region and Iraq, since the start of the pandemic within their borders in February and March 2020, have officially seen over 924,000 infections and more than 14,700 deaths.

Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly