calendar Wednesday, 14 April 2021 clock
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BAGHDAD:  Iraq received its first 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine donated by China as the country is struggling to cope with a new surge of the disease.

An Iraqi military transport plane carrying the first batch of the vaccines from China landed at Baghdad International Airport late on Monday.

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“We urgently asked for this shipment in coordination with the Chinese Embassy. We thank and appreciate China for supporting the Iraqi people”, Health Minister Hassan Al Tamimi said during a ceremony to receive the consignment.

The doses will be offered to health workers, elderly people and members of the security forces first, the Iraqi health ministry said in a statement. State television said the inoculations started on Tuesday.

Agreements

Al Tamimi said Iraq has an agreement with Sinopharm Group to supply around two million doses of the vaccine that would be sent in stages.

Iraq also has agreements to receive vaccines from AstraZeneca and Pfizer, Al Tamimi said.

Iraq recorded last month a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections, including confirmed cases of one of the newer variants of the novel coronavirus.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Iraq is around 700,000, including 13,428 deaths as of 1 March.