Uzbekistan Starts Mass Vaccination Against COVID-19.

TASHKENT -- Health authorities in Uzbekistan kicked off a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 on April 1 with the first residents of Tashkent and regional capitals getting their shots.

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The Health Ministry said on Telegram that people in district capitals and smaller settlements will start getting vaccinated on May 1, while vaccine doses will arrive in more remote areas in June.

The ministry said the British-Swedish Vaxzevria (formerly known as AstraZeneca) and the Chinese-Uzbek ZF-UZ-VAC 2001 vaccines are initially being used to guard against COVID-19 among the country's 32 million people.

The initial rollout is for individuals older than 65, medical personnel, people with chronic diseases, teachers of schools and kindergartens, and law enforcement and military personnel.

An official statement says that "3,138 vaccination centers and 862 mobile medical brigades have been set up across the country for the vaccination campaign...[and] more than 4,000 doctors and more than 11,000 nurses are involved in the vaccination program."

As of April 1, the number of officially registered coronavirus cases in Uzbekistan is 83,050, including 630 deaths.

Neighboring Kyrgyzstan also started its mass vaccination program this week.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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