Syrian government to distribute coronavirus vaccines next week

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – On Thursday, the Syrian government announced that the process of distributing coronavirus vaccines will start next week.

The Syrian Ministry of Health has recorded more than 15,000 cases of coronavirus infections, including 1,000 deaths in the government-held areas since the start of the epidemic in the country.

During a press conference on Thursday, the Syrian Minister of Health, Hassan al-Ghabbash, said that the ministry had received quantities of the vaccine from a friendly country, without naming it.

The pro-government Al-Watan newspaper stated that the vaccines are produced by China, with a total amount of 5,000 doses, sufficient for 2,500 people.

The official SANA agency, quoted al-Ghabbash, the rate of confirmed infection among health workers in the government-held areas reached about 3.6%.

Medical experts and organizations believe that the infection numbers in Syria are much higher than those reported, for several reasons, including limited examination capabilities.

Last month, the government signed an agreement to join the COVAX initiative through the World Health Organization (WHO).

On the hand, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) communicated with the WHO due to its fears over the potential inability to obtain the coronavirus vaccine due to political disputes with the Syrian government on the background of security tensions.

Early in February, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) stressed the need to support international aid organizations in order to ensure a wider and more equitable distribution of vaccines throughout Syria.

HRW said that the Syrian government “has repeatedly withheld food, medicine, and vital aid from political and civil opponents.”

The HRW accused the UN Security Council of failing to “maintain a system of cross-border aid for northeastern Syria, which means that there is no guaranteed channel to distribute the vaccine to the two million people living there.”  

Reporting by Hogar Abdo