Jordan starts its vaccination programme against COVID-19

Amman has started injecting Sinopharm and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine respectively
Atalayar_Jordania Covid

AFP/KHALIL MAZRAAAWI  -   Empty road during closure of a COVID-19 coronavirus in Jordan's capital, Amman

Jordan has started its vaccination campaign against COVID-19. It aims to reach one in four of its 10 million people with the vaccine, with a target of 20-25 per cent of the population. 

However, only 200,000 people have registered since registration opened in December. "We are calling on people to come to our centres to take the doses," Wael Hayajneh, a senior health official, told journalists in Amman.

The government says its priority is to administer the vaccines free of charge to Jordanians and foreign residents, reaching about a quarter of the country's 10 million people. 

Amman has already approved the implementation of Pfizer and China's Sinopharm vaccine in 29 vaccination centres across the country. Nathir Obeidat, the health minister, said the Jordanian government was in talks with the manufacturers of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. 

He had also previously noted that the vaccination programme would give priority to the most vulnerable groups, including the elderly, those suffering from chronic diseases and medical personnel.

The doses arrived in the country on Saturday and Monday with 3,800 tonnes of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm, as well as the European and American laboratory Pfizer-BioNTech.

The vaccination programme is also expected to help restore Jordan's weakened economy, which has declined by 3 per cent in the last year. 

Wael Hayajneh, head of the department of epidemics and communicable diseases at the Ministry of Health, said Jordan was among the "first 40 countries to be vaccinated" against the new coronavirus.

Cases of infection in Jordan have declined dramatically since their peak in November. This has been thanks to the authorities reintroducing movement restrictions that had been curbed during the summer. On Tuesday, it recorded 1,176 cases and 33 deaths. 

The government ordered on Tuesday, through King Abdullah II, to reduce the remaining restrictions on mobility and made an effort to reopen schools and universities that have been closed for almost a year.