KRG says will try to increase vaccinations despite supply challenge

A Kurdish woman tests for COVID-19 at a hospital in Sulaimani on Oct. 12, 2020. SHWAN MOHAMMED/AFP

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SULAIMANI — Following a meeting of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Council of Ministers, spokesperson Jotiyar Adil said that health authorities hope to ramp up their ongoing campaign to vaccinate the public against COVID-19, despite difficulties in securing sufficient supplies.

"In the next few days, the Ministry of Health will announce its plan for public vaccinations,” Adil said at a press conference.

"We will put in every effort to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus among the people,” he added.

Shortly afterwards, the ministry released its statistics for the day, which showed that there had been 10,227 officially recorded COVID-19 cases over the last three days. The total is almost certainly an undercount.

In the face of this serious situation, Adil admitted that there were severe supply challenges in terms of securing the millions of doses that it will take to vaccinate all public servants and those working in public places, as the government said on Tuesday that it would mandate.

He announced that there are approximately 400,000 doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm vaccines currently in the Kurdistan Region.

"Unfortunately, we cannot directly sign contracts with companies to purchase coronavirus vaccines,” he said, referring to the practice of international organizations and pharmaceutical companies largely negotiating with countries, rather than sub-national entities.

"We ask the international community to support the Kurdistan Region to provide for our vaccine needs.”

(NRT Digital Media)