By Vugar Khalilov
Vaccination against COVID-19 is gaining momentum in Azerbaijan as the total number of administered jabs on population has reached over six million as of August 23.
Over 3.7 million people received the first dose of the vaccine, while the number of those who received both doses amounted to more than 2.4 million.
According to the statistics, Azerbaijan ranked second among the CIS countries for the number of vaccinated citizens per capita, following Russia in the list.
Azerbaijan started vaccinating citizens using China’s Sinovac on January 18, Vaxzevria vaccine produced by AstraZeneca on May 3, Russia’s Sputnik V on May 18 and US-produced Pfizer on June 7. The country started offering COVID-19 vaccination to citizens aged over 18 from May 10.
Initially, the vaccination was administered on health workers since January 18, 2021 and more than 70 percent of health workers have been vaccinated so far.
Moreover, for citizens over 65 years of age vaccination has been launched since February 8, and for people aged 50 and over since February 17, 2021. The second dose of vaccination is administered after 28 days the first dose received.
The nationwide vaccination is free and is implemented on a voluntary basis in line with the “Strategy of vaccination against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022”.
All medical centers allocated for vaccination have been provided with registration, vaccination and post-vaccination waiting rooms and all rooms have been equipped with the necessary medical and hygienic equipment in Azerbaijan.
The Ministry of Health, the Compulsory Medical Insurance Agency and the Medical Territorial Units Management Association (TABIB) are working together to combat the pandemic.
In order to facilitate the process, randevu.its.gov.az portal has been launched for citizens to make appointment and select the nearest medical center for vaccination.
At the same time, mobile vaccination services have been organized for people with physical disabilities and living in remote areas.
The large number of citizens seeking to get vaccinated has resulted in queues in medical centers in Azerbaijan.
On August 24, the Health Ministry invited citizens to take a queue on the portal to avoid crowding during the vaccination process. According to the ministry, residents’ visit to medical centers without an online appointment leads to crowding that is difficult for medical staff to regulate.
As of August 2021, 53 percent of those infected with COVID-19 in Azerbaijan are females and 47 percent are males.
As to the age group of infected citizens, 30-39 age group leads with 22 percent, followed by the 50-59 age group with 18 percent. The 20-29, 40-49 and 60-69 age groups come next with 15 percent each. The 0-9-year-old children and 70-79 age group accounts for 3 and 4 percent respectively. The 80 plus age with 2 percent comes at the end of the list of infected residents.
Due to the recent surge in the number of infected people with COVID-19, the government had to take preventive measures in Azerbaijan.
As of September 1, unvaccinated citizens will be barred from entering large shopping centers and catering facilities. On August 20, the government announced that residents over the age of 18 will be required to introduce COVID-19 passports for entering public catering establishments, hotels and large shopping centers.
No restrictions will be imposed on people using the Baku metro and grocery stores, while the decision to reopen theatres and cinemas is expected to be made in the future depending on the further epidemiological situation.
The existence of COVID-19 passports will be checked through a newly-launched mobile application.
As of August 9, Azerbaijan started issuing vaccination exemption certificates for citizens with contraindications to coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the country.
Azerbaijan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 28, 2020. The government allocated $1.1bn from the 2020 budget to fight the coronavirus infection.
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