Approved: Sputnik V, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech
Population: 3 million
- The vaccination campaign, which began on April 13, got off to a slow start. Two weeks later, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the number of vaccinated “shamefully low” and urged all members of his government to get their shots within a week. Pashinyan himself was inoculated on May 3.
A mobile vaccination unit was doing the rounds in central Yerevan on May 5, Civilnet reported, vaccinating anyone who wished for a shot. The health ministry is not regularly releasing figures for the number of Armenians to have received shots.
During a visit to Yerevan on May 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the country would soon begin producing the Sputnik V vaccine.
Fifty-six percent of Armenians will not seek a vaccine, CivilNet reported on April 19, citing a survey conducted by the Caucasus Research Resource Center. The survey found women and young people less likely to accept a jab.
- Acting Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan and Acting Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan both publicly received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on April 28 to allay qualms about the shot. The next day Avanesyan said that she was feeling good and hoped her example would be contagious.
- Health Minister Anahit 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.
- 100,000 doses of Sinovac are on their way from China, state media reported on April 30. It was not immediately clear if they were approved for use in Armenia.
Approved: Sinovac, Sputnik V and AstraZeneca
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.
Azerbaijanis over age 18 will become eligible to receive a shot on May 10.
- China has donated another 150,000 shots, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry announced on April 27 in a press release that stressed the doses were free, but did not say who made them.
- The first 40,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived from Russia on May 2. Baku has requested 300,000 doses.
- A group of paramedics in Baku went on strike May 6, claiming they had received neither the supplemental pay they had been promised nor adequate personal protection equipment, Turan reported.
A nurse in Baku was arrested for falsely registering a patient as vaccinated, Turan.az reported on April 24. Twelve doctors around the country were fired for issuing fake vaccination certificates, Turan reported on April 9.
Azerbaijan will begin distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine on May 3 to people over age 60, state media reported on April 30. The country has received 84,000 doses through the COVAX program.
- President Ilham Aliyev has several times condemned what he calls developed countries’ “unequal and unfair distribution” of vaccines.
Approved: AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm
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.
- Georgia began using the Sinopharm vaccine on May 4. The head of the National Center for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, publicly received the jab the same day, Interpress reported. Gamkrelidze has been one of the public faces of Georgia's fight against COVID-19.
- The country received 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm shot 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. In addition, 100,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine arrived on April 30. Li had said these would be a gift.
- 43,000 more doses of AstraZeneca arrived on May 6.
- Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia said on May 5 that she expects Georgia to reach herd immunity by the end of 2021, when she believes 60 percent of adults will be vaccinated. She also said that she expects the number of COVID-19 cases to peak in mid-May.
- Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said he is negotiating with Pfizer for 1 million doses, Interpress reported on April 27.
- Georgia is considering cancelling curfew for the vaccinated to encourage uptake, RFE/RL reported on April 28.
- 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
- The first 6,500 doses of Sputnik V arrived in the Russian protectorate of Abkhazia on April 30, Ekho Kavkaza reported. Vaccination will begin after the May 1-7 holidays.
- Authorities in the Russia-backed breakaway region of South Ossetia began administering the Sputnik V jab on May 4, Ekho Kavkaza reported.
Approved: Sputnik V, QazVac, Sinopharm
Population: 19 million
The general population became eligible for vaccination on April 1. Our Kazakhstan correspondent describes the waiting, the bureaucracy, and the anticlimax of getting his Sputnik V jab in Almaty.
A nationwide poll of 1,100 Kazakhs released on May 7 found vaccine skepticism had dropped significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. 34 percent of respondents said they had changed their minds in favor of vaccination, while 30 percent said they had always wanted a shot. 32 percent said they do not plan to seek a shot and 12 percent said vaccination will make the situation worse. Asked which vaccine they were most confident in, only 1 percent said the Chinese Sinovac, compared to 62 percent for Russia's Sputnik V, 12 for the domestic QazVac shot, and 2 percent for Pfizer (which is not available in Kazakhstan). The poll has an error margin of 3 percent.
Kazakhstan introduced a domestically produced vaccine, QazVac, on April 26. Health Minister Alexei Tsoi received the shot on live television (The next day he said his arm was a little sore overnight, but that he otherwise felt fine). By the end of the year, the country should be able to produce 500,000 doses per month, Deputy Prime Minister Yeraly Tugzhanov said on April 22. QazVac can be stored in a regular refrigerator and requires two doses three weeks apart. The results of third-stage clinical trials have not yet been released, but the government's website says “its complete safety has been proven, the vaccine forms a strong immunity against coronavirus infection.” President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on April 23 that production would be increased until it is available for every Kazakh citizen. A May 6 RFE/RL article describes how limited information about the domestic vaccine is fueling skepticism.
The daily vaccination rate has increased by 11 times since the start of April, Prime Minister Askar Mamin said on May 4. Some 11,000 health workers are involved.
Kazakhstan has increased the waiting period for the second shot of Sputnik V from 21 days to 45.
A Sinopharm vaccine made in the UAE, marketed as Hayat-Vax, will become available in the capital on May 6, the Health Ministry said.
The Health Ministry said on May 3 that people who are fully vaccinated can return to work.
Kazakhstan is working on four other vaccines against coronavirus, state media reported on April 30
- Police are investigating media reports that a vaccine passport can be purchased in Almaty for 15,000 tenge (about $35).
- Medical students have complained their university is forcing them to be vaccinated, TengriNews reported on April 19.
- 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. State media on April 20 reported that more than 4,000 oil workers at the giant Tengiz field have received Sputnik V. The regional health department stressed that the vaccine campaign is not compulsory.
- President 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.
Using: Sinopharm, Sputnik V
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 was low, but enthusiasm picked up when the Russian Sputnik V jab became available on April 23 to people age 65 and older. A batch of 20,000 doses arrived on April 22.
Supplies of Sputnik V were running low on May 7. Another 20,000 doses are expected on May 20. Meanwhile, the Sinopharm vaccine remains available for anyone over age 18 who wants it.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is expected in May. First Deputy Prime Minister Artem Novikov told parliament on April 28 that 40,000 doses of Sputnik V will also arrive in May, AKIpress reported. The country hopes to vaccinate at-risk populations by the autumn, he said.
In Bishkek the Health Ministry has begun piloting online registration for vaccine appointments, AKIpress reported on May 4.
An online (and thus not representative) poll of 3,100 Kyrgyzstanis conducted by the 24.kg news agency found 75 percent would accept the Sputnik V jab, 5 percent the AstraZeneca shot when it becomes available, and only 3 percent would consent to taking the Sinopharm vaccine, which has been available since March. 17 percent said they would not be vaccinated, the website reported on April 26.
Kyrgyzstan’s president alarmed health specialists by recommending coronavirus patients consume a brew made with a poison root. In a bid to quell the outcry over those remarks, the country’s health minister, Alymkadyr Beishenaliyev, gathered journalists for a press conference on April 16 and drank the concoction in front of them. The president's Facebook posts about the root were taken down that weekend; Facebook says it deleted the posts for spreading misinformation whereas the president's office said he had deleted the posts himself. Within days, several people were admitted to hospital for poisoning.
- 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
Prime Minister Kohir Rasulzoda, during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Kazan on April 29, asked for help procuring Russian shots, saying that Tajiks trust them more than what is currently available.
Vaccinations began on March 22 with 192,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, known as Covishield, received through the Covax program. Tajikistan expects to receive about 20 percent of the doses it needs through COVAX and will need to purchase the rest. “Negotiations are currently underway with China and Russia and I am confident that vaccines will be imported from these countries in the near future,” Ozodi on April 18 quoted a Health Ministry official as saying.
The government does not regularly publish figures on the number of vaccinated people.
- 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.
Approved: Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona
Population: 5-6 million
- 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.
- RFE/RL has reported 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.
Administering: AstraZeneca, Anhui Zhifei Longcom (China), Sputnik V
Population: 34.5 million
- Uzbekistan has received 100,000 doses of Sputnik V as of April 27, the government said. Distribution to people over age 65 began on April 28. Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov asked his Russian counterpart to send more Sputnik V vaccines, Kun.uz reported on April 29.
- 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 and another one million on April 27. 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. On April 19, scientists announced the vaccine is effective against variants. The deputy health minister received the shot on May 3.
- The government on May 6 denied rumors that Sputnik V is only available to officials, Podrobno reported. It is only available to people over the age of 65, a Health Ministry official explained, and the country has thus far received only enough doses from Russia to vaccinate 50,000 people.
- The head of an infectious disease hospital near Tashkent said the number of people under age 45 who are contracting COVID-19 has doubled recently, Ozodlik reported on May 3. He blamed the lack of masks.
- A survey conducted in late March on the Telegram instant messaging app found 44 percent of respondents would refuse vaccination. 34 percent said they would accept a Sputnik V jab and only 8 percent trusted the Anhui Zhifei Longcom shot.
Healthcare workers have told Radio Ozodlik that they are being coerced into receiving the vaccine. The government says the shot is voluntary.
For several months during the initial outbreak, we chronicled daily news from across our coverage region. See our previous coronavirus dashboards here.
The archived April 2021 vaccine dashboard is here.