Iraq said Saturday it has received 1.2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine through the Covax sharing scheme, amid fears of a fourth wave in the country.
Nearly seven million Iraqis have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, amounting to 17.5 percent of the country’s 40 million population, based on government figures.
Plagued by years of conflict, corruption, and neglect, Iraq’s health system has struggled to cope with the pandemic.
The health ministry announced on Saturday the arrival of a shipment of more than 1.2 million doses of “Pfizer’s anti-Covid vaccine through the Covax programme and UNICEF”, the UN Children’s Fund.
“Iraq is still facing danger from the coronavirus pandemic,” ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said on Thursday.
“We expect to enter a fourth wave, (and) it could be a new variant,” he told state television.
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More than two million Iraqis have been infected with Covid and 23,628 have died in Iraq since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to official figures.
Despite an increase in the number of people getting jabbed, Iraq’s government has been unable to overcome general scepticism about vaccines and measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.
There is a high level of public mistrust of institutions in Iraq amid the circulation of misleading information about the pandemic.
Covax was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.