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Azerbaijan Aims to Vaccinate 70% of Population

By Mushvig Mehdiyev July 23, 2021

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Vaccination produces a much stronger and more consistent immune response than infection / Andriy Onufriyenko / Moment via Getty Images

Azerbaijan aims to vaccinate up to 70 percent of its population against COVID-19, the country’s prime minister said on Wednesday.

Ali Asadov, the head of the cabinet, believes the experience in the fight against pandemics proved vaccination to be the most effective way to reduce the number of infections, which have been increasing over the last weeks.

“The goal is to vaccinate up to 70 percent of the country’s population,” he said in a meeting of the Operative Headquarters under the country’s Cabinet of Ministers. 

The prime minister further added that Azerbaijan had agreements to purchase 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which are being gradually delivered to the country. 

Azerbaijan rolled out the nationwide voluntary and state-sponsored vaccination campaign on January 18. Azerbaijani authorities announced that the inoculation of the country’s population would continue in stages in line with the Vaccination Strategy against COVID-19 in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2021-2022. CoronaVac, Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca), Sputnik V, and Pfizer BioNTech vaccines are currently used for vaccination in the country.

The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Azerbaijan surpassed 4.4 million this week. More than 1.8 million or 18 percent of the country’s population have completed their vaccination by getting both shots. 

COVID-19 infected 339,645 people in Azerbaijan, according to the government data. Deaths from the virus stand at 5,002, while 331,782 people recovered from the disease.

On July 22, the Operative Headquarters approved the ongoing quarantine regime extension until September 1, 2021. It was previously scheduled to expire on August 1.

Meanwhile, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an international bank headquartered in Beijing, has approved a $100 million loan to Azerbaijan to help implement a comprehensive plan to mitigate the negative health and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The goal of the program is to support the measures of the Azerbaijani government on financial incentives aimed at mitigating the negative impact of COVID-19 on the health, income, and economic opportunities of the population, as well as on macroeconomic stability,” the media quoted the bank as saying.

According to the government data, the estimated amount of the package of measures for additional financial incentives to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 in 2021 is $1.77 billion. Of these, $100 million is a loan from AIIB, $250 million is a loan approved by the Asian Development Bank, and the remaining is allocated by the Azerbaijani government.

The overall amount of the socio-economic and financial packages to support measures against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan is estimated at $2.06 billion for 2020-2021. More than half of the funds or about $1.5 billion have already been spent in 2020, including around $1.2 billion from the state budget.