Syria receives unnamed vaccine from friendly country: report
Syria's health minister announced on Thursday it had received doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from a "friendly country", according to state media, after Israel reportedly agreed to purchases doses for Damascus from Russia.
Dr Hassan Al-Ghabash did not specify the type of vaccine or the number of doses, in the statement reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), or name the "friendly country".
He did say they will be used to innoculate healthcare workers next week, Al Ghabash said.
On Wednesday, an official in Syria's health ministry denied a newspaper report that a Chinese coronavirus vaccine had arrived in the country and was being distributed, Reuters report.
Later that day, the ministry issued a statement saying it would announce details about vaccinations on Thursday.
Earlier this week Syria said that it had approved Russia's Sputnik V shot.
Reports have emerged that Israel secretly agreed to purchase hundreds of thousands of Moscow's vaccines for Damascus as part of a prisoner exchange deal between it and Syria.
Officials from both sides have denied these reports.
Syria in December signed on to the World Health Organisation's COVAX initiative to procure vaccines.
The WHO, together with the UN children's agency UNICEF and Gavi, will support Syria in acquiring jabs to initially cover at least three percent of the population and aim for 20 percent by 2022.
Syria has recorded 15,230 coronavirus infections and 1,001 fatalities from the virus in regime-held areas.
Human Rights Watch this month urged support for aid groups to ensure "equitable" distribution of coronavirus vaccines to all areas of war-torn Syria, warning against any bid by the regime to block access to opposition and Kurdish-held regions.