Syrian regime receives half a million doses of Sinopharm
The Syrian regime announced on Sunday it had received half a million doses of the Chinese 'Sinopharm' Covid-19 vaccine from China.
The Syrian Minister of Health Hassan Al-Ghobash welcomed the batch at an official ceremony alongside the Chinese Ambassador to Damascus, Feng Biao, who said that 1 million more doses would be sent to Syria in the coming months.
On 29 July, Syria received 150,000 Sinopharm doses from China bringing the total number of doses received to 800,000.
Syria had previously received around 400,000 doses of various Covid-19 vaccines provided by the World Health Organisation's COVAX initiative, which supports lower-income countries with free vaccine doses.
Russia, an ally of the Assad regime, has also provided Damascus with jabs.
The World Health Organisation, relying on data provided by the Syrian government, says that over 600,000 vaccine doses have been administered in regime-controlled areas and northeast Syria as of 19 September 2021.
Throughout the Covid pandemic, the Syrian regime has failed to provide a reliable count of cases and fatalities, leading observers to believe the real death toll in regime areas to be much higher than official figures.
Around 120,000 doses have been given in northwest Syria, controlled by the opposition.
Only 2 percent of the Syrian population has received a jab, well below the global target to vaccinate 20 percent of the population in each country through the COVAX initiative.
Access to the vaccine is vastly uneven across Syria. The Syrian regime procures and provides the vaccine for areas under its control and for the northeast of the country, controlled by a Kurdish-led autonomous administration.
Human rights organisations have repeatedly accused the regime of politicising aid and withholding supplies from areas outside its control.
Northwest Syria, which is controlled by opposition armed groups, runs its own vaccination campaign with doses obtained independently through the WHO's COVAX initiative.
Idlib and Aleppo face a chronic shortage of medical staff and equipment causing a dire humanitarian situation. Hospitals and clinics in the area have also been frequently targeted by the regime and Russia.
Around 4 million people, including many internally displaced persons have crowded into the region to flee the Assad regime.