Iraq COVID-19 vaccination rate jumps, then slows amid surge in cases

For six days running, Iraq has reported over 10,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, which, along with increased fatalities due to the disease, has likely contributed to some people seeking a vaccine.
author_image Kurdistan 24
Traffic and federal police officers stop a vehicle at a checkpoint in the Karrada district of Iraq's capital Baghdad on March 14, 2021, as they enforce a total curfew imposed to curb COVID-19 coronavirus cases. (Photo: Sabah ARAR / AFP)
Traffic and federal police officers stop a vehicle at a checkpoint in the Karrada district of Iraq's capital Baghdad on March 14, 2021, as they enforce a total curfew imposed to curb COVID-19 coronavirus cases. (Photo: Sabah ARAR / AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Just over 1.7 million people in Iraq have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to publicly available data, with healthcare workers delivering a record number of jabs over the past week amid an unprecedented surge in infections.

Just over four percent of Iraq's 41 million population has now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, significantly lower than the global average and neighboring nations like Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabic. Only as the Delta variant tore through communities did some choose to get immunized.

Low jab supplies and deep running vaccine hesitancy, among others, have been the leading factors contributing to a slow Iraq's inoculation campaign, which began in March and includes the Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Iraq's health ministry reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, two days after posting an all-time high of 13,515. Since Monday, reported infections have hovered over 10,000, a significant jump from numbers in early July that were around 4,000.

"The increase in the number of infections and deaths is really starting to scare people," Dr. Abbas Mohammed, who works at a Baghdad hospital administering the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, told AFP on Thursday.

Since July 25, when vaccination saw a significant increase compared to days prior, Iraqi hospitals have administered close to 560,000 vaccine doses, according to health ministry figures. A record 117,000 jabs were delivered on Wednesday, but that number fell back down to a low of about 12,000 this Saturday.

In that period, the number of fully vaccinated people in the country reportedly rose from nearly 1.27 million to just over 1.7 million, an increase of close to 430,000.

July 17–24 average vaccinations per day: 25,000
July 25–31 average vaccinations per day: 80,000

Since the start of the pandemic, Iraq has recorded about 1.63 million COVID-19 cases, including 18,657 deaths and 1.46 million recoveries.