Health Minister Anahit Avanesian said on Wednesday that 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines designed for 100,000 people have been imported and will soon become available in polyclinics and at mobile vaccination sites across the country.
The Ministry of Health said the Sinopharm vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use. It added that data on the efficacy and safety of this vaccine are in line with WHO standards.
The new vaccine, like AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and another Chinese vaccine, Sinovac-CoronaVac, that have already been in use in Armenia, will be available to all citizens aged above 18 on a voluntary basis.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, more than 200,000 people have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Armenia.
The purchase of the new vaccine comes amid a rise in the daily number of new coronavirus cases in Armenia.
According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 new coronavirus cases were identified in Armenia over the past 24 hours.
Since the beginning of the pandemic more than 236,000 coronavirus cases have been revealed in Armenia. Over 4,700 people have died from COVID-19.
The Armenian government held consultations on the coronavirus situation earlier this week, calling for a more active vaccination drive and tougher control over preventive measures to curb the spread of the deadly disease.
Avanesian said that beginning on October 1 employers in Armenia may be required to demand that their employees show their COVID-19 vaccination certificates or otherwise submit negative test results every two weeks. Earlier, health authorities said that the same restriction will also apply to students in universities.
Armenia ended its universal mask mandate in June and now citizens are only required to wear face masks in closed public spaces. Since then this requirement, however, has largely been neglected by both people and businesses.
On August 16, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian called on corresponding authorities to toughen control over anti-epidemic measures, including citizens’ wearing masks in closed public spaces.