Most of the Serum Institute of India’s AstraZeneca vaccines have reached Damascus and more than 53,000 doses have been delivered in the Northwest, where conflicts and displacement have continued.
“This is a milestone in our collective fight against the pandemic” as it is bringing the nation closer to vaccine fairness and giving hope to people, “whose lives have been destroyed by a decade of conflict,” Akjemal Magtymova said. the world Representative of the Health Organization (WHO) in Syria.
COVAX umbrella protection
With the COVAX tool, Syria is one of 92 countries eligible for early market distribution of vaccines.
WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in coordination with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, are providing technical assistance to Syrian health authorities to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign later this month.
Ahead of further deliveries, UN aid workers stressed that Syrian health workers need much more help “wherever they are in the country”.
So do the people most at risk, namely the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, said UNICEF, WHO and Gavi, COVAX partners.
“With the vaccines delivered through this first batch and with future deliveries scheduled for this year, we hope that by the end of 2021, healthcare workers, the elderly and people with chronic diseases – or 20% of the population – will be protected. from COVID-19 and its complications, “said Dr. Magtymova.
“Great day of hope”
UNICEF representative in Syria, Bo Viktor Nylund, called the arrival of the shots “a great day of hope”.
Against the backdrop that the upcoming vaccine launch will protect the health of workers who continue to save lives amid the pandemic, he noted that these professionals would be able to better meet the health needs of the children and families who have suffered of this pandemic “in many forms”.
Mr. Nylund expressed gratitude to India “for facilitating the delivery of this urgently needed shipment of COVID-19 vaccines” and urged wealthier nations to continue working with COVAX partners “to get vaccines to communities as soon as possible. vulnerable in devastated conflict countries like Syria ”.
On the ground
To date, Syria’s official COVID-19 numbers point to around 50,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.
However, UNICEF and WHO noted that the actual number could be much higher, due to poor test supplies in the country after 10 years of war.
WHO, UNICEF and health partners on the ground have pledged to ensure an equitable distribution of vaccines to target groups in Syria.
“When we say, ‘We are not safe until everyone is safe’, we mean every word,” said Dr Ahmad Al-Mandhari, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ted Chaiban and Director of the national support of Gavi Pascal Bijleveld.