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Yemen receives third batch of COVID-19 vaccines

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Vial labelled "AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" placed on displayed EU flag is seen in this illustration picture

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen on Thursday received its third batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing scheme, the health ministry said.

A delivery of 356,000 shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Aden, the temporary capital of the internationally recognised Yemeni government, said Ali al-Walidi, a spokesman for the ministry.

Health Minister Qasem Buhaibeh said the vaccines will be distributed to people who had already received one AstraZeneca dose.

The desperately poor country of about 30 million people, where health infrastructure has been devastated by six years of war, has still received fewer than 1 million vaccine shots.

It received 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca in March, followed by 151,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson in August.

The Yemeni government's emergency coronavirus committee has registered 8,830 coronavirus infections and 1,664 deaths so far although the true figure is thought to be much higher as the war has restricted COVID-19 testing and reporting.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which is at war with the Aden-based government and controls the capital Sanaa as well as major cities in the north and west, has provided no figures since a couple of cases in May 2020.

COVAX is co-led by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization and aims to provide COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries.

(Reporting by Muhammad Ghobari and Reyam Mokhashaf; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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