AFGHANISTAN. Kabul: The first shipment of 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses has arrived in Kabul from India on Sunday. According to the health officials, the shipment will vaccinate 250,000 individuals. They also added that the health workers and elders will be vaccinated in the first phases.
The acting Minister of Public Health, Waheed Majroh, said that the in the first phase the main priority will be given to the frontline health-workers category and in the next phase, the elderly will be vaccinated who are at greater risk.
The Afghan government said that it plans to vaccinate 60 percent of its population in multiple phases. “Besides India’s assistance, we succeeded in getting a pledge for 16 million doses of vaccine from the COVAX facility,” Majroh said.
“The 16 million doses of the vaccine will cover only 20 percent of the population.”
Waiting for the World Health Organization approval
Dastgeer Nazari, a spokesman for the Afghan health ministry told Afghan Hasht-Subh Newspaper that the Indian vaccine has not been approved by the World Health Organization yet. They also added that the vaccines will be distributed after being approved by the World Health Organization.
“India has been a pharmacy to the world. Our manufacturing capacity to supply vaccines has been put to use, putting aside commercial consideration, against vaccine nationalism, to help everybody all over the world, but most importantly our neighborhood, our close friends like Afghanistan,” said Raghuram S., the charge d’affaires of India in Kabul.
Afghan government thanked India
Afghan foreign minister, Mohammad Hanif Atmar thanked his Indian counterpart.
“My profound gratitude to my friend @DrSJaishankar, the government & people of India for assisting 500k dozes of “Made in India” vaccines to address #Covid spread in Afghanistan. A clear sign of generosity, commitment & strong partnership indeed. تشکر، مننه”
The Afghanistan Presidential Palace also appreciated India’s vaccine shipment in a statement on Sunday. On behalf of the Afghan people and the government, President Ghani thanks the timely reach of India’s aid.
“The vaccines will cover the security personal and health-workers in its first phases.”
New technology to help to provide vaccine for health workers
The Afghan health ministry has said that it is planning to create an online system on its website for the health workers to include themselves in the vaccination process by registering their names on the website.
Meanwhile, around 55 thousand people have been infected with COVID-19 and more than two thousand people have died since the beginning of the outbreak in February 2020 in western Herat province.