Oman speeds up COVID-19 vaccination campaigns with fresh supplies

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The Sultanate of Oman is accelerating its COVID-19 inoculation campaigns with new vaccine supplies as the country was the slowest in terms of rollout in the Gulf region due to procurement difficulties, a government health official said.

“The situation is now changing, we are regularly now receiving stocks of vaccine, the campaign again has started,” Zahir Ghassan al-Abri of the General Directorate of Primary Health Care at Oman’s Ministry of Health stated.

Oman began vaccinating in May, since then, the country has given at least one dose to around 15 percent of the eligible population. Ministry of health data shows that 720,199 doses have been given in the country of around 4.5 million people, with 184,621 people having received two doses. 

Based on the number of vaccinations administered per total population assuming every person needs two doses, analysis shows Oman to be lagging far behind its neighbors.

The UAE’s more than 14 million administered doses are enough to have vaccinated about 72.6 percent of the country of around 9.8 million. Oman by comparison has administered enough to have vaccinated about 6.1 percent of the country.

Kuwait, which also experienced some procurement delays, has administered enough to have vaccinated about 21.6 percent of the country. The slow campaign was mainly due to supply difficulties.

Oman offers the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines. It has not approved the shot produced by China’s state-owned Sinopharm, which the UAE used in its early, rapid rollout after hosting Phase III clinical trials.

“The strategy adopted by the ministry of health since the beginning is selecting vaccines based on reports of efficacy and safety, as approved by research and guidelines published by different international organizations,” Mr. al-Abri stated.

Since January, cases in Oman have trended upwards with a surge since a dip in early May. It has recorded 242,723 cases and 2,626 deaths in total. Currently, the country is aiming to vaccinate everyone 12 and over by the end of the year.

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