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22 Apr, 2021 10:44

Syria receives over 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under UN-backed COVAX scheme

Syria receives over 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under UN-backed COVAX scheme

Syria has received its first delivery of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as part of the COVAX vaccine sharing program. The UN has stated that more than 200,000 doses have been delivered to the country.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the GAVI vaccine alliance have noted that the arrival of the vaccine was “critical and timely” and would enable health workers to “continue delivering life-saving services in an already exhausted health system as a result of the decade-long war.”

In addition to the 200,000 vaccines delivered to Damascus, 53,800 doses were delivered to the rebel-held northwestern region of the country, which continues to witness armed conflict and displacement. 

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The organizations involved have acknowledged that there will be challenges with administering the vaccines in the war-torn region. The WHO noted that “the instability of the security situation on the ground” poses a threat, but has committed to the delivery of the vaccinations after using the Vaccine Introduction Readiness Assessment Tool (VIRAT), which allows for a roadmap that encompasses complications.

Akjemal Magtymova, the head of the WHO’s Syria mission, told Syrian health officials and UN partners that the UN hopes 20% of the Syrian population will be vaccinated by the end of the year.

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At the moment, Syria has administered at least 2,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The new shipment will allow for more vaccinations in the country, which has seen 1,400 people die because of the virus.

The COVAX scheme intends to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to countries across the globe. So far, COVAX has shipped over 40.5 million vaccines to 118 participants.

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