Oman pushes vaccination campaign amid Covid-19 surge

Oman pushes vaccination campaign amid Covid-19 cases surge
2 min read
19 June, 2021
Oman is seeking to speed up its vaccination campaign, following a difficulty to secure supplies.
Oman currently offers the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines [Getty]

Oman scrambled  to catch up with vaccinations after delays in securing supplies slowed its vaccination campaign and saw a surge in casesReuters reported on Friday.

"The situation is now changing, we are regularly now receiving stocks of vaccine... the campaign has [resumed]," said Zahir Ghassan al-Abri, of the General Directorate of Primary Health Care at Oman's Ministry of Health, in comments to Reuters

Oman began it vaccination campaign in May, and so far, has administered one dose to approximately 15 percent of the population, according to Abri. Oman, with a population of around 4.5 million people, has had the slowest vaccine rollout in the Gulf region.

Data released by the ministry of health this week showed that 720,199 doses have been administered and only 184,621 people have received two doses, resulting in only 6.1 percent of the Gulf nation's population being fully vaccinated.

The neighbouring United Arab Emirates has administered over 14 million doses of the vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate around 72.6 percent of the population.

Kuwait, which has also struggled with securing the required vaccines, has managed to vaccinate around 21.6 percent of its population. 

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Much of Oman's slow vaccine rollout has been blamed on difficulties to secure supplies. 

"As with other countries the delivery of these vaccines has not been met through the agreed timeline for different reasons," explained Abri. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines are offered in Oman, and consideration is being made to offer the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, which has been avaliable in the UAE. 

Oman said that it will offer the vaccine if it meets government standards.

"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 organisations," said Abri.

Cases in Oman have been steadily rising, recording an average of 1,786 cases a day. 

Local media reported this week that hospitals across the country were under immense pressure due to the rise in cases, with a field hospital in the capital, Muscat, recording a capacity of 90 percent. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Oman has recorded over 243,000 cases and 2,626 deaths from Covid-19.