Central Asia’s largest country is getting ready to receive its first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine sometime next week, Kazakhstan’s health ministry announced this week.
“Pfizer vaccines are expected to be delivered between November 8-14 this year,” Marat Shoranov, the country’s vice minister of healthcare, said on Thursday, according to a report by RIA Novosti.
He further added that the country would get a total of four million doses of the German-American vaccine in line with contractual obligations.
In October, Central Asia’s largest country signed an agreement to purchase the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. On August 23, the vaccine received a temporary registration in Kazakhstan for the period of eight months.
Once delivered, the vaccine would primarily be used to voluntary vaccinate those in a vulnerable group, including adolescents and pregnant women. Shoranov said it would be distributed among all regions in proportion to their population size in the same way as other vaccines.
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 harmless 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.
Kazakhstan’s health authorities have so far authorized Russia’s Sputnik V and Sputnik Light, domestically manufactured QazVac, as well as Chinese CoronaVAC, Vero Cell, and Hayat-Vax produced in the United Arab Emirates based on Sinopharm technology.
As of November 5, 8.3 million people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. At the same time, 7.6 million Kazakhstanis are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 has infected more than 945,000 people in Kazakhstan since the pandemic began in early 2020. The lives claimed by the virus stand at 12,204. Currently, 37,137 active Covid-19 patients are being treated in the country. Regions of the country are now divided into various zones — red, yellow, or green — depending on local disease activity.
Health officials warned that the epidemiological situation is likely to worsen as Kazakhstan’s northern neighbor, Russia, suffers from a new wave of Covid-19.
“This wave can reach Kazakhstan within a month. After all, our borders with Russia are conditional and transparent. Therefore, we shouldn’t relax,” Liter.kz quoted Kazakh epidemiologist Rafail Kipshakbaev as saying on Wednesday.
“I would be glad if this forecast turned out to be wrong, but the reality is that this is quite expected,” he added.