By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan today started the use of Vaxzevria vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in nationwide COVID-19 vaccination process.
The vaccine will be administered to people aged 60 and over in Baku, Lankaran, Sheki, Ganja, Mingachevir, Absheron, and Sumgayit.
Some 84,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to Azerbaijan in April within the COVAX initiative, with 432,000 more doses to be delivered by late May.
In addition, on April 2, a first batch of the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine, with 40,000 doses, was delivered to the country.
Receiving the vaccine batch in the airport, Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov noted that the delivery of the first batch of Sputnik V vaccine to Azerbaijan is another manifestation of close friendship, cooperation, and strategic ties with Russia.
Similar ideas were voiced by Russian Ambassador Mikhail Bocharnikov who stressed that the delivery of the vaccines against COVID-19 will serve to further strengthen close and friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Russia.
Emphasizing that the vaccination was the most effective way to combat COVID-19, Deputy Health Minister Viktor Gasimov said that as a result of political support and daily control of President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva, over 2 million vaccines have already been delivered to the country.
Gasimov noted that to date, about 1 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan, first using Chinese Sinovac vaccine and now AstraZeneca vaccines.
On March 11, Prime Minister Ali Asadov signed an order to import 300,000 doses of Sputnik V from Russia to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan started vaccinating citizens using China’s vaccines on January 18.
The nationwide vaccination is free and on a voluntary basis and is in line with the “Strategy of vaccination against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022”.
Azerbaijan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 28, 2020. The country introduced a special quarantine regime on March 25 and took a number of measures to fight COVID-19 in the country. Moreover, the government allocated $1.1bn from the 2020 budget to fight the coronavirus infection.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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