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Azerbaijan Gets First Batch of Covid-19 Vaccine Directly from China

By Gunay Hajiyeva April 2, 2021

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A staff member unloads the newly-arrived vaccines manufactured by China's biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech at the airport in Baku, Azerbaijan, April 1, 2021. / Tofik Babayev / Xinhua

This week, the first batch of Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccines against novel coronavirus arrived in Azerbaijan directly from China under the purchase agreement signed on March 21 between the two countries.

Sinovac Biotech, the vaccine’s manufacturer company, supplied 500,000 jabs of the vaccine to Azerbaijan on Thursday. The overall number of doses specified in the agreement is 5 million.

According to the Chinese ambassador to Azerbaijan, Guo Min, the next batch of the Covid-19 vaccine manufactured in China is expected to arrive in Azerbaijan in late April. The ambassador further added that Azerbaijan would soon get another 150,000 shots of the vaccine free of charge.

Azerbaijan had previously purchased another 4 million doses of Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine, which are delivered to Azerbaijan in stages from Turkey. Under the agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey, CoronaVac is being first transferred to laboratories in Turkey for necessary checks before arriving in Azerbaijan. So far, Azerbaijan has received about 1.5 million doses of the Chinese vaccine from Turkey.

Around 266,322 people have contracted the virus in Azerbaijan, according to the government’s data released on April 2. The virus has so far killed 3,617, while around 239,807 survived the infection.

More than half a million people in Azerbaijan, or 5 percent of the country’s population of 10 million, have already received the Covid-19 vaccine since the mass vaccination was rolled out in the country in January. The Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine is used for immunization in Azerbaijan, which is voluntary and funded by the government. It should include two doses to complete the vaccination and receive a vaccination passport. 

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani government plans to use more Covid-19 vaccine options in addition to CoronaVac. South Korea will deliver 84,000 doses of Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca) vaccine produced by a British-Swedish joint venture to Azerbaijan starting from April 5. Azerbaijan will get a total of 432,000 jabs of the Vaxzevria vaccine by the end of May. Delivery of the vaccine is carried out within the COVAX initiative joined by Azerbaijan. 

“Also, 218,790 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be delivered to Azerbaijan within eight weeks,” Azerbaijan’s Deputy Healthcare Minister, Viktor Gasimov said.

Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V is another immunizer to be used in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government and Human Vaccine Company have recently agreed to the purchase of 300,000 doses. A representative of Azerbaijan's Management Union of Medical Territorial Units (TABIB), Yagut Garayeva, said the date for the arrival of Sputnik V vaccines was yet to be confirmed.