A COVID-19 vaccine campaign kicked off in Syria’s last rebel-held enclave on Saturday, with a 45-year-old front-line nurse becoming the first to receive a U.N.-secured jab.
Nizar Fattouh, a nurse in Ibn Sina Hospital in Idlib city, received one of 53,800 AstraZeneca vaccines delivered to northwest Syria through Turkey on April 21.
The vaccines come amid a new surge of infections in the war-torn country. Syria supplies of oxygen are depleted and its hospitals were already overwhelmed from 10 years of conflict and deteriorating health care services.
The AstraZeneca vaccines were delivered to the rebel-controlled area through a border crossing with Turkey, the northwestern territory’s only gateway to the outside world.
Idlib health official Yasser Najib said the jabs were provided through the U.N.-led COVAX program for the world’s poor and developing nations.
He said the vaccination campaign will last 21 working days, starting Saturday in two of the enclave’s largest hospitals. On Monday, the campaign will unfold in