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Pashinian Orders Strict Enforcement Of Vaccination Measure


Armenia - A medical worker holds a vial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at a policlinic in Yerevan, April 28, 2021.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian told relevant authorities on Thursday to properly enforce an administrative measure designed to accelerate the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccination in Armenia.

A controversial directive signed by Health Minister Anahit Avanesian last month obligates virtually all public and private sector employees refusing vaccination to take coronavirus tests twice a month at their own expense.

Pashinian and other senior officials discussed its enforcement at a meeting in Yerevan that also touched up the broader epidemiological situation in the country.

“The prime minister instructed relevant state structures to do their part to ensure compliance with the directive effective from October 1,” the Armenian government’s press office said in a statement on the meeting.

The requirement has been condemned as illegal by some critics of the government and individuals opposed to any vaccination. Avanesian has defended it, saying that vaccines are the most effective way to minimize coronavirus infections.

The minister spoke at Thursday’s meeting of a “positive dynamic” in the vaccination process. She said a record 9,900 people were inoculated against COVID-19 in Armenia on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Health, nearly 367,000 vaccine shots were administered in the country of about 3 million as of September 19. Just under 130,000 of its residents were fully vaccinated.

The daily number of officially confirmed coronavirus cases has been slowly but steadily rising since June. The Ministry of Health reported on Thursday morning 939 new cases and 19 coronavirus-related deaths.

Avanesian said that Armenian hospitals treating COVID-19 patients are increasingly overwhelmed by the latest resurgence of the disease. The hospitalized patients include 25 children and 30 pregnant women, she said.

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