Iraq signs deal to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Vials of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are seen at the Del-Pest Central Hospital in Budapest
Vials of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are seen at the Del-Pest Central Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2021.
Zoltan Balogh/MTI/MTVA/Pool via REUTERS

Iraq has signed an agreement with Russia to import 1 million doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Iraq’s oil ministry said on Thursday.

Iraq, which is struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19, expects the vaccine shipment to be delivered to Baghdad within two weeks, according to a statement citing Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, who signed the deal.

On Tuesday, Iraq received its first 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine as a donation from China. Inoculations started the same day for health workers, elderly people and members of the security forces first.

Sinopharm Group is to supply around 2 million doses of the vaccine in stages, and Iraq also has agreements to receive vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Pfizer.

Iraq recorded a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections last month, and has reported cases of one of the variants of the novel coronavirus.

The total number of COVID-19 cases reported in Iraq is around 714,000, including 13,507 deaths as of March 4.

Nearly two weeks ago, the government banned most travel between provinces and imposed a nationwide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and for 24 hours a day on Friday to Sunday, following a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.