Oman will receive the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday, according to top government functionary.
“The first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered to the Sultanate on coming Wednesday,” according to Badr bin Saif Al Rawahi, director of the infectious diseases control department of the country’s health ministry. The announcement was posted by the department on Twitter on Monday.
Accordign to Al Rawahi, Oman’s health ministry has formulated a vaccination strategy to cover 60 per cent of the population. He also said that the vaccination programme will be divided into phases, and the first one will start with 20 per cent “due to the limited supply at the current period”.
High-risk groups of people, including frontline medical workers, as well as individuals suffering from chronic diseases and elderly persons are set to be inoculated during the first stage.
The vaccine will be administered in two doses, with the second one being given after a 21-day period.
After the United Kingdom warned that a new variant of the virus seemed to be spreading much faster than previous kinds, India, Pakistan, Russia, Jordan and Hong Kong joined European countries in suspending travel from Britain, and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman closed their borders completely.
Oman’s one-week closure of all official ports of entry began on Tuesday “to protect community members from the severity of infection and the speed of spread”.
The sultanate’s decision to impose an international travel ban followed an announcement by its neighbour Saudi Arabia late on Sunday that it would shut its borders for a week or until clearer details emerged about the more contagious variant of the virus that has hit the UK.
Last week, Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to start a nationwide vaccination campaign with the Pfizer/BioNtech shot.
Oman has struggled to contain a major outbreak that has infected over 1,27,900 people, although cases have declined in recent months.
(With inputs from agencies)