ERBIL — Italy, through vaccine-sharing facility Covax, donated more than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 to Iraq on Sunday in efforts to assist the country in combating the pandemic, the UN children's agency UNICEF has confirmed.
"Thanks to the Government of Italy for its donation of 100,800 vaccine doses to Iraq through the COVAX facility," Sheema SenGupt, the representative of UNICEF, said in a statement on Sunday.
A statement by UNICEF, which works jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO), explained that "100,800 [doses] of the AstraZeneca vaccine" were delivered to Iraq.
The Kurdistan Region usually receives 10% of the vaccines received by Iraq from COVAX, as the pandemic situation in the autonomous region has also deteriorated while the demand for the vaccine continues to increase.
Available statistics by the country's Health Ministry indicate that nearly four million people in Iraq, which makes around 10% of its population, have received at least one coronavirus vaccine jab.
However, Iraqi health workers have revealed that, in addition to their fight against the coronavirus, they are also combating a widespread scepticism over the vaccines, as a result of misinformation and public mistrust in the state.
Iraq started to vaccinate its citizens in early March when the country began to receive first donated shipments of the Chinese Sinopharm.
The country recently also introduced new measures pertaining to the period between the two shots, as part of which the interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine was extended from 21 to 56 days in order to inoculate more citizens.
According to the latest updates, Iraq's Health Ministry has so far registered nearly 2,000,000 coronavirus infections, out of which around 21,500 people have lost their lives since the outbreak of the novel virus in the country.