‘Like a war’: Sluggish rural vaccination rates have some worried

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AMMAN — The Minister of State for Media Affairs Sakher Dudin said that some 1.588 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination in Amman. However, outside of the capital, a lagging vaccination rate has some worried.اضافة اعلان

Hopes were rising a month ago that the Kingdom would be able to continue enjoying a safe summer and autumn, given a decrease in positive COVID cases at the time.

However, a recent rise in the number of cases has some worried. In a phone interview with Jordan News, the Ministry of Health’s secretary general for epidemiology and communicable diseases and the official in charge of the coronavirus file, Adel Bilbeisi, said: "We were planning to reach 5.5 million citizens who received the vaccine ... but the new wave of COVID Delta turned the scales. However, the increase in the number of cases we have is not cause for concern.”

“If we look at the Eastern Mediterranean region, from Morocco to Pakistan, we find that there is an increase in the number of cases estimated at 67 percent per week, and 24 percent of deaths," he added.

An official at the Ministry of Health, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Jordan News that “we aim to return to most aspects of normal life in the beginning of September.”

However, the source added that this all depends on the epidemiological situation. “If it gets worse, this will not happen. After all, preserving people’s health is a priority,” they said. “We do want to work all together to improve the economic situation in the country, but this will not be at the expense of the epidemiological situation.”

That epidemiological situation may be slow to improve if it is dragged down by sluggish vaccination numbers in rural areas. Isaac Tawil, a doctor, told Jordan News that “it is important that citizens in some municipalities in the outskirts take the vaccine too. The vaccination percentage in such areas has now reached about 50 percent, and that is very low.”

The doctor stressed that “we cannot say that we have reached herd immunity while citizens in some areas have not taken the vaccine, and are not willing to take it, too.”

The doctor stressed that authorities should do more to educate people on vaccines and “encourage them to take it posthaste”.

“Jordan is not just Amman,” he said. “We have to concentrate on less fortunate areas. People in some areas are not educated enough to learn how to protect themselves from the coronavirus.”

The doctor added that “we are working on fighting rumors against the vaccine — it is like a war, and we have to fight with all our power to win this war, and reach the required percentage of people who got vaccinated in all governorates.”

“We have had enough of this pandemic. Some people have died, and some are still ill and suffer from worrying symptoms; besides that, the economical situation has gone from bad to worse,” Tawil said. “We shall work together to eradicate the virus, and taking the vaccine is now the best and most effective solution that shall help us.”

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