COVID-19: Iraq receives over half million US-donated vaccine doses

A truck loaded with COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Baghdad, Aug. 14, 2021. (Photo: WHO Iraq)
A truck loaded with COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Baghdad, Aug. 14, 2021. (Photo: WHO Iraq)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq received a new batch of over a half-million coronavirus vaccine doses donated by the United States government and distributed through the international COVAX program, which works for "fair and equitable access" to immunization for the populations of every country in the world.

The more than 500,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses are the latest of Washington's ongoing contributions to the fight against COVID-19 in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

US Ambassador to Iraq (left) stands alongside with WHO representative and other local health officials while receiving the half a million vaccine doses, August 14, 2021. (Photo: WHO Iraq)
Representatives of the United States and the WHO oversee the handoff of a half million vaccine doses to local health officials in Iraq, Aug. 14, 2021. (Photo: WHO Iraq)

“We are grateful for the generosity and the solidarity shown by the American People. Together we can make an end to this terrible pandemic,” Ahmed Zouiten, the WHO Representative in Iraq, tweeted on Sunday.

It is not yet clear exactly how many doses of the newly-arrived vaccine will be allocated for the Kurdistan Region.

Both federal and regional health workers have so far administered more than 2.5 million vaccine doses to their populations since vaccination drives began in early 2021.

On Saturday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment reported 7,610 new coronavirus cases and 65 deaths due to the deadly disease over the previous 24 hours. Just over 26,000 people had also been vaccinated over the same period.

Read More: Iraq reports nearly 8,000 new COVID-19 cases; Baghdad to receive more vaccine doses

The international effort known as COVAX is being led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the GAVI vaccine alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO), which characterized the program as "a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure eventual COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live."

The agreement plans ultimately to provide two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines around the world by the end of 2021. 

Editing by John J. Catherine