KABUL – Afghanistan began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on Tuesday with the first phase immunization to inoculate frontline health workers and members of the security forces.
“Today, I congratulate the whole nation of Afghanistan on the inauguration of the first phase of the corona vaccine,” President Ashraf Ghani said in his speech to the nation during the inauguration event at the presidential palace.
Ghani thanked India “for the exceptional act of solidarity and generosity” by donating vaccine doses to Afghanistan.
Health ministry spokesperson Akmal Samsour told EFE the vaccine doses administered on Tuesday are part of the 500,000 jabs donated by India that were approved by the respective health agencies.
The vaccine in the first stage of the drive will be given to frontlines workers providing necessary services to the Afghans.
These include members of the security forces, health officials, and journalists, the spokesperson said.
However, Ghani said the government was working to obtain another batch of vaccines soon to immunize at least 40 percent of the Afghan population.
Afghanistan has confirmed 55,664 positive cases of the coronavirus, including 2,436 deaths since the first case of the pandemic was detected in the country in February last year.
In the last 24 hours, health authorities have analyzed 1,047 samples, of which 18 tested positive for COVID-19.
The authorities also reported one death due to the disease.
“Afghanistan is among the limited countries in the world to effectively control and prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, and start the COVID vaccine drive,” Health Minister Wahidullah Majroh said during the inauguration of the campaign.