Iraq has purchased 16 million doses of China's Sinopharm Covishield covid-19 vaccines covering only one fifth of the total population.
On March 2nd, Iraq has received 50,000 jabs from China distributed to all Iraqi provinces per population including Iraq's northern Kurdistan region.
Saif badir, spokesman of Iraqi ministry of health, said Iraq to receive 16m doses, adequate to vaccinate 20% of people.
Iraq to receive 16m doses, adequate to vaccinate 20% of people.
The same day, the vaccination process started for medical staff of a hospital for Covid-19 infections in Risafa part of Baghdad, joining Iraq to the long-awaited inoculation drive. Those received the first dose have to receive the second dose after 21 days.
Iraq has witnessed a surge in Covid-19 infection cases from 1000 cases a day in January doubled five times. On Marhc 3rd, 5173 positive cases were registered and 25 deaths, mounting the total to almost 709,0000, daily stand by ministry of health shows.
Ministry of health said in a statement priority in vaccination is for the medical staff, followed by the army and security forces, later the elderly and cases of chronic diseases. The vaccination process exempts children, pregnant women and those breastfeeding. The vaccination service is for free and not compulsory, the ministry added.
Sinopharm vaccine is reported to be 79% efficient. It can be stored in ordinary refrigerators between 2-8 degrees, making the logistic process easier in comparison to vaccines produced by other companies.
Reportedly the cost per dose is $30-75 but Iraq has not revealed the details of the contract via Covax, an umbrella by WHO to provide vaccines for countries lately joining the vaccination race.
Last figures by Iraqi ministry of planning show that Iraq population is over 40M.
"We are trying to get more doses from other companies as we plan to get 1,525,000 doses from Pfizer yet legal formalities yet to be finalized so we called on the parliament to pass the law" badir added.
"We are trying to get more doses from other companies as we plan to get 1,525,000 doses from Pfizer yet legal formalities yet to be finalized," Badir added.
A law for approval of Covid-19 vaccines is to be ratified by Iraqi parliament in the next days.
Iraqi Kurdistan region has received 5,000 doses out of the 50,000. Nineveh Northern Province has received 4,800 jabs, Kirkuk 2,090 and Diyalah 1,400 doses.
"In the next two days we will start vaccinating our medical staff particularly those in Covid-19 fight frontline and already registered for that purpose, Nabil Hamdi Boushnaq, director of Kirkuk Health Directorate told KirkukNow.
"We hope to get more vaccines so that people can make use of it," he added.
In mid February, The high committee for national health and safety chaired by Iraqi Prime Minster Musfata al-Kadhimi has decided to implement full lockdown on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and night curfew from 8 pm to 5 am effective Feb. 18 to March 8 due to spike in Covid- 19 cases.
The restrictions included intercity travel ban, compulsory masking and social distancing in the public. All mosques and worship houses were closed except during prayer times. Funerals, parties and social gatherings werebanned. The penalty for violation of social gathering is 5M Iraqi Dinars ($3,500). The shutdown covered malls, cafes, gyms, swimming pools, and cinemas. The iraqi government is to announce new procedures for coming weekends.