KUWAIT CITY, Nov 24, (Agencies): The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday the arrival of COVID-19 “BNT162” vaccine by the end of this year, and usage will be subject to approval of local regulatory authorities. In a statement, Assistant Undersecretary for Medicines and Medical Supplies, Dr Abdullah Al-Bader, said an agreement was reached with Pfizer and BioNTech, which developed the vaccine, to supply the vaccine to Kuwait. Based on the ministry’s request, the vaccine will arrive by the end of 2020 and during the year 2021 after completing clinical tests and necessary approvals from local regulatory authorities, he said, pointing out that the financial details of this agreement have not been disclosed.
The Ministry has taken all measures to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and store it in the ministry’s facilities at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius, he added. This agreement falls under the global commitment of Pfizer and BioNTech to confront the global COVID- 19 crisis, Al-Bader said. For her part, Pfizer’s Chief Business Officer in the Gulf region, Lindsey Dietschi, expressed pleasure to cooperate with the Kuwaiti government in order to achieve the common goal of providing the potential COVID- 19 vaccine to the Kuwaiti people as soon as possible. She expressed hope the vaccine saves people’s lives as she stressed this depends on the success of clinical tests.
For his part, Chief Business and Commercial Affairs Officer at BioNTech Shaun Marett thanked the Kuwaiti government for its support and confidence in their ability to develop a vaccine believed to be able to confront this global epidemic threat. The goal is to provide global supplies of a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 to many people around the world as soon as possible, he said.
Both Pfizer and BioNTech began obtaining regulatory approvals in November 2020 and are expected to manufacture up to 3.1 billion doses globally by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, Kuwait listed 402 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday to raise the total to 140,795, while two fatalities were recorded over the past 24 hours upped its death toll from the outbreak to 870, the health ministry said.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus currently stands at 6,518, with 75 of them in intensive care units, said ministry Spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad, adding that some 5,583 swab tests were conducted over the last day out of a total of 1,062,076 so far. The ministry had earlier reported that some 559 more people had recovered from the virus over the past day, raising the total of those to have overcome the disease to 133,407.
The spokesman went on to urge citizens and expatriates alike that abiding by health precautions, mainly, following social distancing rules, is the only way to halt the spread of the virus. The Director of Health Promotion Department, Dr Abeer Al-Bahwah, speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the awareness campaign of the health requirements necessary to combat the “COVID-19” disease, reiterated the importance of fully adhering to health requirements in the workplace.
The campaign was held under the auspices of the Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Public Health Affairs Dr Buthaina Al-Mudhaf and Assistant Undersecretary for National Health Services, Dr Fatimah Al-Najjar. Dr Bahwah said that the Ministry of Health has been spreading health awareness since the outbreak of the pandemic and explained the campaign, which is being held in cooperation between the Departments of Health Promotion and Infection Prevention, will last for 10 days inside the Ministry’s building in the Sulaibikhat area.
The campaign highlights modern awareness methods of health requirements in workplaces, as well as an awareness presentation and methods of applying the requirements. Al-Bahwah indicated that the target group of this campaign is the Ministry’s employees, indicating that it has been communicating with the departments of the Ministry of Health to allocate teams in small numbers to help implement social distancing. She also emphasized that wearing a mask is mandatory in addition to cleanliness, washing hands frequently.