Approved: Sputnik V, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech
Population: 3 million
- Armenia's vaccination campaign got off to a slow start on April 13, our correspondent reports.
- Most people will receive the AstraZeneca shot, the health minister said on April 12, though people younger than age 55 will be eligible for Sputnik V. “Once we have new batches of Sputnik V, citizens aged above 65 will be vaccinated with Sputnik V,” Anahit Avanesyan said, adding that Armenia is expecting a gift of the Sinovac vaccine from China.
- Avanesyan announced on April 14 that the government had negotiated to receive 1 million Sputnik V doses from Russia, Interfax reported. She did not say when they would arrive, though she said she hopes to vaccinate 20 percent of the population by the end of the year.
- At the end of March, the Health Ministry said that 565 healthcare workers had been vaccinated, all with free samples of Russia's Sputnik V. Another 15,000 Sputnik V vaccines purchased from Russia arrived on April 8. The previous day, during a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his country needs a million more.
- On March 28, Armenia received its first shipment of 24,000 AstraZeneca doses from the Covax global vaccine sharing initiative.
Approved: Sinovac and Sputnik V
Population: 10 million
- Azerbaijan began its vaccination campaign on January 18 with Beijing-based Sinovac’s CoronaVac, for which it has contracted 4 million doses. It has also been promised 506,400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Covax; the first batch of 84,000 were delivered on April 4, the Health Ministry said.
- Over 1.24 million doses have been administered, the government said April 15.
- Twelve doctors around the country were fired for issuing fake vaccination certificates, Turan reported on April 9.
- Positive cases have been rising sharply in recent days, Turan reported on April 7.
- President Ilham Aliyev has several times condemned what he calls developed countries’ “unequal and unfair distribution” of vaccines.
- Azerbaijan is taking part in an experiment, along with Russia, Ukraine, and several countries in the Middle East, in which subjects will get a first dose of the AstraZeneca and then a second dose of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
- Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh were vaccinated in February, Armenian state media reported.
Approved: AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech
Population: 3.7 million
- Georgia began its vaccine campaign on March 15 with 43,200 doses of AstraZeneca sourced through Covax. Another 29,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, also through Covax, arrived on March 25. As of April 15, over 25,000 shots had been administered.
- People over the age of 55 became eligible on April 5. Officials announced on April 8 that they would only administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to persons over age 55. Britain has limited distribution to people younger than 30 due to the rare risk of blot clots.
- A third-wave of infections has begun in Georgia, the head of the country's National Centre for Disease Control said on April 12.
- Vaccine reluctance is widespread, especially after a nurse died shortly after she received her first jab on television on March 18. Georgians were broadly hesitant even before the tragedy. One recent survey conducted prior to the nurse’s death showed that over a half of Georgians were reluctant to get the jab.
- Two doctors and a nurse were charged on April 9 for lying about their attempts to save her.
- Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze announced on April 7 that a website to schedule vaccinations will soon be available.
- Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili tested positive for COVID on April 6. His colleague, the chairman of the ruling party, announced he too had tested positive the next day.
- Georgia received 100,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine in early April. “The level of safety and effectiveness of this vaccine is very high,” Chinese Ambassador Li Yang told an April 5 press conference. Another 100,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine will be gifted to Georgia, Li added. But officials say they will only begin using the Chinese vaccines after they are approved by the World Health Organization.
- The prospect of purchasing Russian medicine at taxpayers’ expense has sparked some controversy in Georgia, where Russia is seen as an invader and occupant. Health officials have assured Georgians that the government has no plans to purchase Russian vaccines, but did not categorically rule out the possibility.
Approved: Sputnik V
Clinical trials are ongoing for the domestically developed QazVac.
Population: 19 million
- The general population became eligible on April 1.
- Over 500,000 people have received a first shot and over 100,000 have been fully vaccinated as of April 15. Of these, 16 have subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, though their symptoms are mild, Interfax reported on April 15. Authorities explained that it can take six weeks after the first shot of Sputnik V to develop immunity.
Government-run broadcaster Khabar on April 13 claimed that 90 percent of Kazakh oil workers are refusing their jabs. The allegation is that laborers are reluctant to forgo the quarantine bonuses they have been receiving since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Kazakhstan.
Bakdaulet Abdrakhmanov, the chief imam of Shymkent, received his first shot on the first day of Ramadan, telling Muslims that the vaccine does not violate the fast. "If you suddenly feel unwell after the vaccination, you can interrupt the fast for a while, this applies to any diseases,” state media quoted him as saying.
- President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev received the Sputnik V vaccine manufactured in Karaganda on April 6, his spokesperson said. Tokayev had earlier pledged to wait for the domestic vaccine, prompting his spokesman to clarify that he will receive that one, too, when it is ready. Health Minister Alexei Tsoi reiterated on April 7 that he would wait for the Kazakh vaccine.
- Journalists were shown vials of the future QazVac vaccine on April 9. A deputy prime minister said the vaccine will be produced in Kazakhstan and bottled in Turkey; 50,000 doses should be distributed by the end of April, state media reported; QazVac will require two doses, much like its better-known analogues.
- Prime Minister Askar Mamin said on April 6 that he hoped Kazakhstan would reach herd immunity with 10 million people inoculated by September, Interfax reported. On April 14, officials said they expected to receive 2 million doses by the end of April.
- Authorities announced on April 5 that people who had received two doses were issued digital vaccine passports that can be downloaded from the Egov-mobile app, Interfax reported
- Infections in the capital are up 240 percent over last July, Tengrinews reported on April 9. In late March, Almaty was registering more cases than during the worst periods of 2020. Infections in April are three times higher than in March, Health Minister Tsoi said on April 12, TengriNews reported.
- A plant in the central city of Karaganda is producing Sputnik V doses under license, though on April 7 authorities asked Russia to send more. The president met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 8. The two discussed shortages of Sputnik V shots, Vlast.kz reported.
- Kazakhstan, where neither of the Chinese vaccines is authorized, announced on March 26 that it would take 3 million doses of the Sinovac-produced jab.
- Kazakh scientists are planning to develop vaccines for animals, Interfax reported on April 8.
Population: 6.5 million
- Kyrgyzstan began its vaccination campaign on March 29 with 150,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China.
- Initial interest has been low. Just over 5,000 people had received shots by April 15. The government said on April 14 that it had negotiated for 30,000 Sputnik V doses.
- On April 5 Health Minister Beishenaliev blamed journalists for depressing vaccine enthusiasm. He was referring to viral, fact-deficient Facebook post by a former Health Ministry spokesperson claiming that an employee of the Foreign Ministry died after receiving his shot on April 1. The post questioned the safety of the Chinese-made vaccine.
- Kyrgyzstan expects to receive over 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax program in May or June. The health minister said on April 14 that the drug will not be distributed if the WHO finds reasons for concern. The WHO has said it is safe.
- Kyrgyzstan is short 3,000 doctors, President Sadyr Japarov wrote on Instagram on April 9, citing the low salaries.
- The government-run Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kyrgyzstan said on April 2 that vaccination does not violate the Ramadan fast. Ramadan begins at sunset on April 12 this year.
- A survey by the Health Ministry with the support of the WHO found 55 percent of the population is willing to be vaccinated, Knews reported on April 6. The survey of 1,000 people found 18 percent reported having used antibiotics to prevent or treat coronavirus. Antibiotics do not work against viruses and misuse is dangerous.
Population: 9.3 million
- The president on April 9 again insisted his country has registered no cases since early January and praised his decision to abandon quarantine last year, Ozodi reported, adding that many countries (he did not specify which) were studying Tajikistan's experience fighting the virus.
- Vaccinations began on March 22 with 192,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, known as Covishield, received through the Covax program.
- There appears to be widespread confusion about the need for vaccinations after the government spent months claiming it had defeated COVID-19. There is also hesitancy about using the available shots due to AstraZeneca's controversial rollout in Europe. The head of a clinic in Dushanbe suggested waiting until European countries have made a firm conclusion about the risk of blood clots.
- A Health Ministry spokesman told Radio Ozodi on April 5 that the government is negotiating the purchase of the Sinovac and Sputnik V vaccines.
Approved: Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona
Population: 5-6 million
- Hospitals are overwhelmed in Ashgabat as the country experiences a fourth wave of COVID-19, Radio Azatlyk reported on April 9, citing local doctors. Many are dying of related complications.
- Government officials still insist no cases of COVID-19 have appeared in Turkmenistan, despite ample evidence to the contrary. State media rarely mention the pandemic, vaccinations, or any facet of the crisis.
- The government is currently vaccinating teachers with the Chinese-made Sinopharm shot, RFE/RL’s Turkmen service reported on April 7. Medical workers and other first responders were vaccinated earlier. China claimed it had delivered a batch of the China-made Sinopharm vaccine on March 6. There is no indication the state has approved its use.
- It is unclear how many people have received a jab. Amsterdam-based Turkmen.news reported on March 18 that the Sinopharm vaccine was being offered to the elderly.
- RFE/RL added that the Russian-made Sputnik V shot is available for purchase; a full regimen costs approximately $285 at the official exchange rate.
- Russian officials said Turkmenistan became the first country in Central Asia to approve the Sputnik V vaccine, on January 18. Later that month, Ashgabat approved use of EpiVacCorona, also produced by Russia.
Population: 33 million
- The government announced on April 14 that it would begin issuing digital vaccination certificates. Over 300,000 people had received shots since the beginning of the month.
- The country’s top clerics announced that vaccination will not violate the Ramadan fast, Ozodlik reported on April 12. The holy month this year begins at sunset on April 12.
- Uzbekistan launched its vaccination campaign on April 1 with both the AstraZeneca shot received through Covax and the ZF-UZ-VAC 2001 vaccine made by China’s Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceuticals.
- Uzbekistan is the only country in the region to extensively cooperate with China, conducting third-phase trials of the Anhui Zhifei Longcom jab over the winter. One million doses reportedly arrived in Tashkent on March 27. Uzbekistan plans to start bottling ZF-UZ-VAC 2001 in May or June. First Deputy Minister of Innovative Development Shahlo Turdikulova has said that she and her family were vaccinated with ZF-UZ-VAC 2001, which requires three shots over 28 days.
- A survey conducted in late March on the Telegram instant messaging app found 44 percent of respondents would refuse vaccination.
- Uzbekistan plans to test a Russian COVID vaccine for animals, Podrobno.uz reported on April 13.
For several months during the initial outbreak, we chronicled daily news from across our coverage region. See our previous coronavirus dashboards here.