COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Mongolia paused for two weeks

2021-04-12 11:17:18

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. The government of Mongolia has put the country under strict lockdown for 15 days between April 10 and April 25 with a view to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On April 9, the Ministry of Health reported that during this period, the nationwide vaccination drive will be paused and the vaccination sites will be closed amid the rising cases of coronavirus in Mongolia. The decision to halt the vaccine rollout, which kicked off on February 23, was made with a view to avoid the gathering of crowds at vaccination sites and breaking social distancing rules during the lockdown. 

The decision causes a 15-day of delay in the second dose that was due from April 10 to those who had already received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccines. The Health Ministry assured that the recommended dates of administering second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines used in Mongolia, including Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Sputnik-V and Pfizer-BioNTech, are from 21 days up to 12 weeks following the first dose and the delay does not impact the effectiveness of the vaccines. 

The healthcare employees who were working for the vaccination will be mobilized for coronavirus detection and response and close contacts tracing measures. 

Responding to public criticism for the decision and skepticism that the vaccine stocks may have run out, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of the State Emergency Commission S.Amarsaikhan on April 10 informed that Mongolia has about 192,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines available in reserve. He further said that the shipments of a total of another 600,000 doses of vaccines against COVID-10, which were scheduled on April 9 and 12, have been postponed due to transportation issues. 

According to Minister of Health S.Enkhbold, the vaccine rollout will be intensified from April 26 and all adult population in Ulaanbaatar city will be at least partially vaccinated within May 1 and will receive the second dose by May 31. The Health Minister also said that additional 120-160 vaccination sites will be set up during the 15 days of the ongoing lockdown to allow 60,000 people at a minimum to receive the vaccine each day as soon as the lockdown is lifted.

Although the vaccination is suspended for 15 days, Minister of Health Enkhbold confirmed that elderly people aged 60 years and older with chronic diseases will be immunized during the lockdown and mobile units will operate to vaccinate them in their homes if necessary. 

Currently, Mongolia has received a total of 809,740 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 164,000 doses of AstraZeneca via India’s assistance and COVAX Facility, 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China through donation and procurement, and 20,000 doses of Sputnik-V vaccine purchased from Russia and 25,740 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine via COVAX Facility.

As of April 10, a total of 609,875 adult people, or 29 percent of the nationwide vaccination target has already received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. 488,254 people of the vaccinated population are in the capital city and the remaining 121,621 people are in rural aimags. 


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