NUR-SULTAN – More than 6.5 million people in Kazakhstan are now fully immunized against the COVID-19, or 64.7 percent of the eligible population, said Kazakh Healthcare Minister Alexey Tsoy at a government meeting on Tuesday.
Around 7.6 million people, or 75.8 percent of the eligible population, have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“Regions are provided with vaccines in sufficient quantities. Supply of vaccines is carried out according to schedule,” said Tsoy, noting that vaccination remains the only way to prevent coronavirus infection.
Currently, Kazakhstan uses Russia’s Sputnik, its own QazVac, and Vero Cell (Sinopharm) vaccines. It also expects the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine in the fourth quarter of 2021 to immunize children over 12 years. But the exact delivery dates have not been announced yet.
“Regarding the eligible age, now as soon as the results of the studies are approved by the regulators of the countries where these clinical trials were conducted, we will receive official recommendations, perhaps we will also consider (changing the eligible age). At the moment, according to the registration certificate, the vaccine is approved for children aged 12 years and older,” said Tsoy at a press briefing on Monday.
Overall, he said over the past two weeks, the incidence rate went down by 36 percent as the epidemiological situation has stabilized in the country since mid-August.
There are now four regions in the green zone – Zhambyl, Kyzylorda, Mangistau, and Turkistan regions. Nine regions are in the yellow zone – Shymkent as well as Almaty, Akmola, Atyrau, Aktobe, Kostanai, East Kazakhstan, West Kazakhstan, and North Kazakhstan regions.
Four regions remain in the red zone, including the capital Nur-Sultan.
Reproductive number, which refers to the average number of people a person with COVID-19 could infect, is 0.88. Over the past month, the number of patients per day decreased by 3.6 times. Kazakhstan has also closed 57 COVID hospitals.
“At the same time, since Aug. 23, the number of patients recovered per day exceeds the number of those infected per day, which also indicates stabilization of the epidemiological situation,” said the minister. According to him, since Aug. 1, the occupancy rate of infectious disease beds has decreased from 56 percent to 33 percent throughout the country, and intensive care beds – from 45 percent to 32 percent.
As the cold season began in Kazakhstan, flu vaccination kicked off in the country from Sept. 15. Kazakhstan purchased around 2.5 million doses to cover 13 percent of the population with the WHO recommendation of 10 percent, said Tsoy.
“Medical workers, children registered in medical institutions, children in educational institutions for orphans and children left without parental care, orphanages and on epidemiological grounds are subject to vaccination against flu. Today, around 270,000 people or 10.5 percent of the eligible population have been vaccinated,” he added.