COVID-19: Iraq receives over half million US-donated vaccine doses
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.
“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.
Through COVAX & the support of USA Gov, over 500,000 doses of #Pfizer vaccines arrived in Iraq. @WHOIraq is delighted to have worked with the COVAX partners to secure these additional💉for the Iraqi people. Vaccines are safe & reduce risks of serious illness when you get #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/9lVxKHPYtF— WHO Iraq (@WHOIraq) August 15, 2021
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.
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