COVID-19: Iraq to purchase 18 million vaccine doses
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi health official told the media on Monday that Baghdad will buy some 18 million coronavirus vaccine doses of various brands in the "near future."
Riyadh Falhi, the General Director of Public Health at the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment, announced the decision in the state-run Al-Sabah newspaper.
He said that the Iraqi government had initially negotiated the purchase of "33 million doses," but that he now expects to instead receive 18 million shots.
Aside from those it may purchase or be allotted through the international COVAX program, which works for "fair and equitable access" to immunization for the populations of every country in the world, the Middle Eastern nation has also received significant vaccine donations from other countries such as the United States and China.
Iraq currently provides three vaccine brands to its citizens: Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm, and AstraZeneca.
Both federal health workers and those in the autonomous Kurdistan Region have so far administered more than 2.5 million vaccine doses to their populations since vaccination drives began in early 2021.
On Saturday, 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.
Read More: COVID-19: Iraq receives over half million US-donated vaccine doses
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."
Editing by John J. Catherine