February 22, 2021 | healthcare

Iraq to receive around 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by end of month: parliamentary health committee

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Iraqi parliament’s health committee announced that Iraq will receive approximately three million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February or beginning of March, state media reported on Sunday.

'The Ministry of Health has contracted international companies like Pfizer and AstraZeneca to import Covid-19 vaccines,' committee member Ghaib Al-Amiri told the Iraqi News Agency (INA) on Sunday, adding that other doses will arrive “within a period of time to be agreed upon between the Ministry of Health and the companies supplying the vaccine.'

Iraq has reserved a total of 16 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Riyadh Abdul Amir, Director of the Ministry of Health and Environment’s health department told Rudaw English.

Up to 3.4 million doses to be received are the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, he said.

Minister of Migration and Displacement, Evan Faieq Jabro, announced that 500.00 internally displaced people (IDPs) in camps across Iraq will be vaccinated once the first doses arrive in the country.

The Ministry of Health announced in December that it had signed a deal with Pfizer for 1.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, some of which will begin to arrive this month. The ministry has said that Iraq will receive doses of a Chinese-made vaccine by the end of this week.

The country has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Iraq's Ministry of Health has said that 50 percent of new COVID-19 cases are from the UK strain of the virus, according to an official statement published on Thursday.

The UK variant, which was first detected in England in September 2020, poses 'a great danger if preventive measures are not taken seriously,' he added. The ministry announced its arrival to Iraq on Monday, saying several children had been infected with the variant strain of COVID-19.

On February 13, new restrictions on movement and social gatherings were announced as the number of cases continued to rise.

Schools, universities, salons, parks, wedding, and funeral venues, and religious sites have been closed from February 15 until further notice, with schools and universities to return to virtual teaching.

Tamimi announced on Sunday that the ministry's health teams would start imposing fines from Monday on those who violate the restrictions, noting that there is a significant increase in critical cases.

Coronavirus cases have spiked in Iraq beginning of this week, with 3,187 new cases and 27 deaths recorded on Sunday. This brings the total number of registered cases to 66,7937, and the total number of deaths to 13,272.


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