The first batch of vaccines against COVID-19 will arrive in Oman on December 24, Badr bin Saif al Rawahi, director of the Department of Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health, said on Tuesday.
Rawahi also informed that a national plan for distribution of the vaccine has been prepared by the ministry.
H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, on Monday evening said that there is no indication that the new strain of coronavirus is more aggressive and that it will not affect vaccine efficacy. He added that the vaccine will be launched in Oman on December 27.
A total of 15,600 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech will arrive on Thursday.
The vaccine will be delivered in two doses, separated by 21 days. Vaccination centres will be announced in the next few days.
“The Ministry of Health has a national plan to distribute the vaccine and train health workers to administer it in all governorates,” Rawahi said.
He stressed that the precautionary measures that are currently in place alongside inoculation is the solution to fighting the virus and mitigating the effects on the economy. “Vaccines have in the past contributed to eliminating epidemics such as smallpox and polio. It is a race against time to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine. Some companies are at advanced stages of clinical trial, while others have obtained international approvals for emergency use.”
Rawahi stated that the sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Health, has opened consultative channels with a number of scientific institutions and international organisations, as well as direct negotiations with several companies, paving the way for Oman to be among the first few countries to obtain the vaccine this year.
He confirmed that the ministry has prepared a strategy to immunise 60 per cent of the population, which will be carried out in stages. “The first phase begins with 20 per cent of the targeted percentage due to the limited current supply.”
“The ministry will start the immunisation process with groups such as the elderly, diabetics, people with chronic lung disease, kidney failure patients, workers in intensive care units and departments caring for patients with COVID-19,” Rawahi said.
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