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Iraq commits $170 million to secure coronavirus vaccine: WHO

The Iraqi government has committed $170 million to secure a coronavirus vaccine, when one is ready for distribution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Iraq is among the countries that is participating in COVAX. The country has committed $170 million towards this effort, and it is among the first countries to benefit from the vaccine,” read a fact sheet from the WHO on Friday.

COVAX is a global initiative bringing together governments and vaccine producers to ensure an eventual vaccine reaches those in greatest need, “regardless of their wealth.”

The spokesperson for Iraq’s health ministry told Rudaw English that the vaccine will be distributed for free. “There is a plan to distribute vaccines according to priorities … but first a vaccine must be authorized,” Saif Badr said via WhatsApp.

Military forces, health workers, and at-risk groups will be prioritized when distributing the vaccine, which will be provided “for free,” he explained.

It is not known when a vaccine will be approved. Currently, 190 vaccines are under research and development but only 10 have reached the final stage, according to WHO.

Iraq has recorded 470,633 cases of the coronavirus. Of these, 397,241 have recovered and 10,862 people died, according to figures from the health ministry. Sourcehttps://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/301020201