10% of Iraqis vaccinated to fight Covid-19 pandemic and infodemic

Baghdad, Sept. 14th, 2021- A tour by ministry of health staff to raise awareness about Covid-19 vaccination. Ministry of health

By Wiroud Salih

Over four million Iraqis have received Covid-19 vaccination making 10% of total population despite the ongoing circulation of misinformation and disinformation about side effects of the jab race Iraq joined in March.

Iraqi ministry of health said on Tuesday that 130,135 people were vaccinated, making the total over 4.2 million people vaccinated yet the figures are not clear how many people received both doses.

“We hope to reach 70% up to end of the year,” said Dr. Nabil Hamdi, director of Kirkuk health directorate. He called on Kirkuk people to head to vaccination outlets to receive the jab as part of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

“People were listening to videos and posts on social media calling for rejection of vaccination which is a crime but now people understand that the vaccine reduces rate of deaths and infections,” Hamdi confidently added.

Iraq has registered 4,400 positive cases on Tuesday, compared to 13,500 cases a day in July, the peak pf the third wave which has eased in August. About 1.96 million cases were reported while deaths passed 21,500 since February 2020.

Based on recommendations by the ministry of health, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of high committee for health & safety end of July where he decided to impose compulsory masking in public places as Iraq was facing third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Iraqi security forces ISF were tasked to impose recommendations of this meeting to ban gatherings in public places. Only half of civil servants will attend office as part of new set of rules to curb the Delta variant of Covid-19.

VT: 70 vaccination outlets all over Kirkuk province, Dr. Nabil Hamdi.

Misinformation has negatively affected impact of people about vaccination as they hear and see people saying it leads to impotence and in some cases to death.

“I don’t believe vaccination is valid against Corona virus though I lost my father,” said Ahmed Hussein, soldier of the Iraqi army. “It leads to madness, impotence, heart failure shortly after vaccination. It is a way to reduce world population,” Hussein has heard from friends and seen on social media platforms.

He believes that flower oil extract is the cure “in only three days.”

Academics definitely reject such allegations.

“Public trust in science and evidence is essential for overcoming COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization WHO Director-General last April.

“Therefore, finding solutions to the infodemic is as vital for saving lives from COVID-19 as public health measures, like mask-wearing and hand hygiene, to equitable access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.”

Dr. Rubba Falah Hassan, member of media team of the ministry of health, said taking two doses is the only way to fight Covid-19.

Iraq has eased restrictions of full curfew during the weekends and partial curfew at night in May as people protested the negative impact on their income. The Iraqi ministry of education has postponed school calendar to November 1st due to October elections and in order to have more time for vaccination of teachers and educational staff while Kurdistan regional government KRG has opened school doors for class education on September 14th with obligatory masking for teachers and pupils.

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