Kazakhstan has received the second batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine amidst a mass immunization campaign rolled out in early February.
According to the country’s health ministry, 266,760 more jabs of the German-American vaccine were delivered to Kazakhstan last week as part of the purchase agreement signed in October 2021. The first batch of 379,000 jabs arrived in mid-November.
A total of 4,230,000 shots should be sent to Kazakhstan under the agreement.
Earlier this month, Marat Shoranov, the country’s vice minister of healthcare, said the vaccine would be distributed among all regions in proportion to their population size in the same way as other vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is used to voluntarily vaccinate those in a vulnerable group, including adolescents and pregnant women.
Pfizer-BioNTech, also known by the brand name Comirnaty, became the first vaccine to receive emergency use listing from the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2020. Each dose of Pfizer-BioNTech contains ten micrograms of messenger RNA (mRNA) that ‘teaches’ cells in the body how to create an immune response to the virus that causes Covid-19. The two-dose Covid-19 vaccine has demonstrated 95 percent efficacy against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and should be administered 21-28 days apart. Since the vaccine requires a particular storage temperature to maintain its quality and efficacy, special refrigeration equipment has been delivered to 16 regions of Kazakhstan.
Central Asia’s largest country has so far authorized Russia’s Sputnik V and Sputnik Light, Chinese CoronaVAC, as well as Hayat-Vax produced in the United Arab Emirates based on Sinopharm technology. In July, the country’s health authorities registered the Chinese Vero Cell vaccine. At the same time, the government purchased 2.97 million doses of the domestically manufactured QazVac Covid-19 vaccine.
As of November 24, 8.7 million Kazakhstanis have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while almost 8 million of them are fully vaccinated.
Covid-19 has infected more than 966,000 people and claimed more than 12,000 lives in Kazakhstan since the pandemic began in early 2020. Regions of the country are now divided into various zones — red, yellow, or green — depending on local disease activity.
Meanwhile, coronavirus disease is currently the number one cause of death across Europe and Central Asia, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Tuesday that cumulative reported deaths are projected to reach over 2.2 million by spring next year, based on current trends.
“Today, the COVID-19 situation across Europe and Central Asia is very serious. We face a challenging winter ahead, but we should not be without hope, because all of us – governments, health authorities, individuals – can take decisive action to stabilize the pandemic,” said Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.