By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan allocated over AZN 1.9 billion ($1.1bn) from its state budget to fight the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the Finance Ministry revealed in its annual report on February 10.
Of these funds, AZN 612.5 million ($360.2M) was spent to pay allowances to medical workers involved in fight against coronavirus, to purchase medical supplies and equipment, medicines, to increase the number of beds and activities of specialized hospitals and to pay for costs associated with quarantine control services.
Some AZN 1.3 billion ($764.7M) was used to reduce the pandemic’s negative impact on the country’s economy, macroeconomic stability, employment and entrepreneurship.
Another AZN 39.3 million ($23.1M) was spent to support international measures to combat the pandemic. This includes AZN 17 million ($9.9M) sent by Azerbaijan to the World Health Organization, AZN 3.4 million ($1.9m) to UNESCO and ICESCO as well as AZN 18.9 million ($11.1M) in humanitarian assistance to 18 foreign countries.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry reported that Azerbaijan will participate in clinical studies of the joint use of two vaccines - Sputnik V and a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in cooperation with the Oxford University.
The trials are expected to begin by the end of February 2021.
The study aims to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the combined use of the Sputnik V vaccine and the one developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.
The research program will last six months in several countries. In addition, it is planned to involve 100 volunteers from each country in the study.
Azerbaijani scholar Yazgul Abdiyeva told Trend that the country’s participation in an international study of a combination of two vaccines against the coronavirus can be assessed as a big contribution to the fight against the pandemic and the solution of the global problem.
“This study is a vivid example of the successful policy of cooperation between Azerbaijan and international organizations.”
Azerbaijan started vaccinating its citizens against COVID-19, using a vaccine developed by China's Sinovac, as of January 18. The vaccination process started with medical workers and is voluntary and carried out at the expense of the state. The next stage of COVID-19 vaccination for citizens over 65 years old started on February 8.
Azerbaijan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 28. The country introduced a special quarantine regime on March 25, and has taken a number of measures to fight COVID-19 in the country.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz