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Yemen launches first round of COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Minister of Civil Service Abdul-Nasser Al-Wali, receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in Aden, Yemen April 20, 2021. (Reuters)
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Minister of Civil Service Abdul-Nasser Al-Wali, receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in Aden, Yemen April 20, 2021. (Reuters)

Yemenis gather outside a vaccination center in Al-Maala district of the southern city of Aden on April 20, 2021. (AFP)
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Yemenis gather outside a vaccination center in Al-Maala district of the southern city of Aden on April 20, 2021. (AFP)

UN vehicles are seen outside a vaccination center in Al-Maala district in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on April 20, 2021. (AFP)
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UN vehicles are seen outside a vaccination center in Al-Maala district in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on April 20, 2021. (AFP)

A health worker receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in Aden, Yemen April 20, 2021. (Reuters)
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A health worker receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in Aden, Yemen April 20, 2021. (Reuters)

Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in Aden, Yemen April 20, 2021. (Reuters)
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Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in Aden, Yemen April 20, 2021. (Reuters)

A poster depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad hangs along an alley in Damascus on April 21, 2021. (AFP/LOUAI BESHARA)
A poster depicting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad hangs along an alley in Damascus on April 21, 2021. (AFP/LOUAI BESHARA)

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RIYADH: Yemen launched the first round of its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on Tuesday in the temporary capital, Aden.
The campaign is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).
Yemeni Minister of Public Health and Population Qasim Buhaibeh, Minister of Civil Service and Insurance Abdul Nasser Al-Wali, Governor of Aden Ahmed Hamed Lamlas, Yemen’s representative for UNICEF Philippe Duamelle, and director of the WHO office in Aden Noha Mahmoud all received the vaccine in a show of support, Saba News Agency reported.
Yemen received 360,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 31, part of a consignment from COVAX expected to total 1.9 million doses this year.
Buhaibeh said this was the first step toward reaching the ministry’s goal of administering 12 million vaccines by the end of the year, urging doctors, the elderly and those with chronic diseases to register to receive the jab.
Duamelle said frontline workers, the elderly and those with certain health problems would be prioritized.
“The launch of the campaign against the coronavirus is an important day in Yemen’s history,” he said, adding that the health minister and other ministers have taken the vaccination confirming its safety.
The 12-day campaign aims to reach 317,363 people in 133 districts across 13 Yemeni governorates under the control of the internationally recognized government.
There has been a dramatic spike in coronavirus infections in Yemen since mid-February, further straining a health system battered by the conflict.
The government’s health ministry has previously said the COVAX vaccines will be free, and distributed across the country. COVAX is co-led by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the WHO to provide COVID vaccines to low-income countries.
Tuesday’s rollout covered only government-held parts of the country, said Ishraq Al-Seba’ei who is with the government’s emergency coronavirus committee. But she said 10,000 doses were being sent to Sanaa via the WHO.
Yemen’s emergency coronavirus committee registered 42 confirmed cases and six deaths on Tuesday. It has recorded 5,858 coronavirus infections and 1,132 deaths so far though the true figure is widely thought to be much higher as the war has restricted COVID-19 testing.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia, which controls the capital Sanaa and much of the north have provided no figures since a couple of cases last May.
Meanwhile, KSrelief said it has provided support for protection projects within Saudi Arabia’s grant for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2020. 
The center cooperated with UNICEF to provide protection services by enabling children and their families to access psychosocial support and mental health services, totaling $4 million.
(With Reuters)

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