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Azerbaijan Continues Vaccination Drive, With Over 1.3M Jabs Administered

By Ilham Karimli April 19, 2021

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Along with the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine currently used in Azerbaijan, the country expects Vaxzevria, Sputnik V, and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to arrive. / Frank Augestin / Getty Images

More than 1.3 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Azerbaijan over three months of a mass immunization campaign rolled out in mid-January.

According to a statement released by the Operative Headquarters under the country’s Cabinet of Ministers, more than 1.337 million shots have been injected as part of the first and second phases of the inoculation. The first shot has been received by 889,232 people, while 448,148 people have completed their vaccination procedure by receiving the second shot, according to the government data.

The Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine is used for immunization in Azerbaijan, which is voluntary and funded by the government. It should include two doses in order to complete the inoculation and receive a vaccination passport. Residents can register for Covid-19 vaccination on an online platform launched by the state-run Agency for Compulsory Health Insurance.

Azerbaijan had initially purchased 4 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by the Chinese SinoVac company, which was confirmed to be 92 percent effective. SinoVac agreed to deliver vaccines in stages. According to the terms of an agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey, the Chinese-made vaccines are first transferred to laboratories in Turkey for necessary checks before arriving in Azerbaijan. In March, Azerbaijan and China signed a new document to supply another 5 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine directly from China. In early April, the first batch of 500,000 Chinese-made jabs arrived in Azerbaijan directly from China under the purchase agreement signed on March 21 between the two countries.

As of April 19, around 301,661 people have contracted the virus in Azerbaijan. According to the government data, the novel coronavirus has so far killed 4,169, while around 265,539 recovered from the disease.

The Azerbaijani government, however, plans to use more Covid-19 vaccine options in addition to CoronaVac. South Korea has already supplied Azerbaijan with 84,000 doses of Vaxzevria (formerly known as AstraZeneca) vaccines of joint British-Swedish production. A total of 432,000 jabs of the Vaxzevria vaccine are expected to arrive in the country by late May. Delivery of the vaccine is carried out within the COVAX initiative joined by Azerbaijan. 

In addition, the country is supposed to receive 218,790 doses of German-American Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 300,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V. Valentina Matvienko, Chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council, has recently said that 100,000 jabs of the vaccine will be delivered to Azerbaijan in April and May. She further said Russia is ready not only to supply ready-made vaccines to Azerbaijan but also to consider the vaccine’s production domestically, which could help both countries organize the speedy vaccination process and export vaccines to foreign markets.

Meanwhile, Tedros Ghebreyesus, who heads the World Health Organization (WHO), said last week that the rate of spread of the coronavirus in the world approached the highest rate ever during the pandemic.

“Around the world, infections and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise at a rate of concern. The weekly number of new cases around the world has almost doubled over the past couple of months and is approaching the highest infection rate that we have seen in the entire pandemic,” Russian RIA Novosti quoted Ghebreyesus as saying.