Over 3,300 new Pfizer doses arrive Erbil in second COVID-19 vaccine delivery

A nurse holds a used vial of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in the Kindi Hospital in Iraq's capital Baghdad, April 14, 2021. (Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP)
A nurse holds a used vial of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in the Kindi Hospital in Iraq's capital Baghdad, April 14, 2021. (Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A new delivery of over 3,300 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine arrived in Erbil overnight Sunday, the second delivery of the vaccine to arrive in the Kurdistan Region this month, a health official told Kurdistan 24.

The first batch of the American-German vaccine arrived in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in early April, of which the Region received over 2,000 doses as part of its share from the 50,000 sent to the federal government.

Sunday’s delivery contains 3,400 doses, which will be distributed to the Kurdish capital’s vaccination centers and Soran district, according to Sarhang Jalal, the head of Erbil’s Prevention Directorate.

The new doses will be administered beginning on Tuesday, Jalal told Kurdistan 24.

Citizens in Iraq and the autonomous Kurdish region must register online to be eligible for the three available vaccines, including Pfizer, the Chinese Sinopharm, and the UK-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs.

So far nearly 25,000 people have received one of the available vaccines in the Kurdistan Region, according to Jalal, who said that Iraq and the Region are aiming to vaccinate 20 percent of the population before the end of 2021.

The Kurdistan Region began its vaccination campaign in early March when the doses of Chinese Sinopharm arrived. Vaccine hesitancy – marked by uncertainties and even fears around inoculations – was high as the early doses arrived. Soon, the fear around vaccination turned into a rush, mainly for the Pfizer jabs, and vaccine-seekers overwhelmed centers.

Officially, the Kurdistan Region has recorded more than 146,000 infections, from which 3,900 died since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 March. 

Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly