The 50,000 doses of the Spikevax jab manufactured by the U.S. company Moderna were delivered to Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport and handed over to the Armenian Ministry of Health. The ministry thanked the Lithuanian government in a statement that announcement the shipment.
The Baltic state already provided 25,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to Armenia in early September.
The Moderna shots donated by it are the first American vaccines that will be used in Armenia. Gayane Sahakian, the deputy director of the Armenian Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said they will be distributed to all policlinics and other vaccination centers across the country and made available the population by the end of this week.
Armenians have until now been inoculated with vaccines developed by Russia, China as well as Oxford University and the Anglo-Swedish company Astra Zeneca.
Health Minister Anahit Avanesian said in July that Armenia will receive this fall 50,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine and 300,000 doses of the Novavax jab. Shortly afterwards the Armenian government allocated funds for the purchase of 300,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. None of those vaccines have been imported yet, however.
“We will have Pfizer vaccines, but I don’t know when,” Sahakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
According to the Ministry of Health, just over 517,000 vaccine shots were administered in the country of about 3 million as of October 4. Only about 165,000 of its residents were fully vaccinated.
The government has taken administrative measures to try to accelerate the slow pace of its immunization campaign launched in April. A recent directive signed by Avanesian obligates virtually all public and private sector employees refusing vaccination to take coronavirus tests twice a month at their own expense. The requirement took effect on October 1.
The daily number of officially confirmed coronavirus cases in Armenia has slowly but steadily increased since June. The Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday morning 891 new cases and 24 coronavirus-related deaths.