Vaccination against COVID-19 in Tajikistan: the role of joint efforts
Tajikistan’s population started receiving vaccines against COVID-19 in a phased approach, starting from March 22, 2021, as the national Khovar agency reported with reference to a decree of the Government of Tajikistan. President Rahmon's order for vaccinations has been ordered to ensure national implementation. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) of Tajikistan has organized 3000 vaccination sites according to the Minister Dr Jamoliddin Abdullozoda.
In March of this year, 192 thousand doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to Tajikistan at the initiative of the country's government and the support of development partners within the WHO global vaccine access mechanism (COVAX) to counter COVID-19.
The vaccine of the British company "Oxford" produced in the laboratory of the Serum Institute in India is being given to the people of Tajikistan. This vaccine is included in the list of WHO immunobiological agents used in emergency situations. The first group that received the CoviShield vaccine, the Indian analogue of the AstraZeneca vaccine, was the health workers. According to the Ministry of Health, in addition to the medical workers, the first stage of the vaccination also covered people over 60 and people with chronic diseases.
The start of the campaign was highlighted with vaccination of some of the high profile public health leaders such as the Minister of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan Jamoliddin Abdullozoda, his deputy Samariddin Alizoda and the UNICEF representative in the republic Osama Makkawi Kogali, who received the vaccine among the first.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during his official visit to Tajikistan on May 18-19, has announced that Tajikistan will receive the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine free of charge. After Mr Lavrov met with the President of the Republic Emomali Rahmon, further cooperation in overcoming the consequences of coronavirus infection among the two countries was decided and announced. In addition to increasing the supply of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Tajikistan, agreements included collaboration in labor and education sectors.
China, too, has announced of supplying 150,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac to Tajikistan, according to the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of the Ministry of Health.
Although the press service of the MoHSP has announced on 5th of March that “more than 80% of the population of Tajikistan expressed their readiness to be vaccinated against coronavirus”, only 69 229 people received the coronavirus vaccine in Tajikistan as of May 11, which is less than 1 percent (0.71%) /1/. Other data indicate 70 517 people received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 as of May 18, 2021 (0.73%) /2/.
According to a forecast published by BBC, Tajiskistan is among the lagging countries that will achieve mass vaccination (of the majority population) by the start of year 2023 /3/.
We will remain hopeful that with the help of not only international efforts such as COVAX, regional partnership efforts with the help of China and Russia in the example of Tajikistan, such forecasts will be overcome by an accelerated rate of vaccination and faster achievement of the desired health and economic outcomes.