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Turkmenistan Begins Mass Vaccination

Monday 1 February 2021

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ASHGABAT (Azatlik) — Turkmenistan expands the country’s restrictions and begins mass vaccination with two different Russian vaccines.

The country, which has not officially recognized the presence of the coronavirus on its territory, has registered two Russian vaccines at once since the beginning of the year.

Azatlyk correspondents in Turkmenistan report that vaccination with the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is expected to start on February 15. In particular, family doctors in Lebap velayat (“district”) are notifying the population. Lists of citizens for compulsory vaccination have already been prepared, including the elderly, medics and people with chronic diseases.

On January 18, Turkmenistan became the first country in Central Asia to officially register a Russian vaccine against coronavirus. Ten days later, it was the first in the world to register the second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona.

Last Saturday, another batch of Sputnik V vaccines arrived in Turkmenistan from Russia. Turkmenistan has registered a second Russian vaccine and will study other foreign vaccines

Since last month, various parts of the country have begun compiling lists of citizens, including health workers and teachers, who are in the main risk group, to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. On January 28, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov instructed the health minister to vaccinate students who are going to study abroad.

Turkmenistan is one of ten countries in the world that has not officially registered a single coronavirus patient. At the same time, official Ashgabat says it takes all necessary measures to prevent the disease from spreading. The Turkmen government extended earlier restrictions. According to semi-official Turkmen online publications, the restrictions on trade, catering, sporting events, trains, and international flights in the country have been extended until March 1 of this year. The previous restrictions expired on January 31.

Meanwhile, a designated unit to house COVID-19 patients at Turkmenabat Multipurpose Hospital, which was closed for quarantine, has resumed normal operations.

Turkmen authorities have not explicitly linked the restrictions to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that they are imposed as part of measures to prevent infectious diseases. Official Ashgabat, while stating that there are no registered cases of COVID-19 in the country, does not comment on the situation with mass morbidity of the population and increased mortality from the disease with coronavirus symptoms.


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