Supporting Tajikistan with equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

How the World Bank and UNICEF join forces to continue supporting the national COVID-19 vaccination program in Tajikistan

Umeda Fazylova
A woman getting her vaccine shot in Dushanbe
UNICEF/Tajikistan/2022/M. Ruziev
16 February 2022

On January 17th this year a plane carrying 650,400 doses of Moderna vaccines touched down in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This delivery was organized by UNICEF through the COVAX facility with the funding from the World Bank and in support of the national vaccination program.

The next morning, the vaccines were distributed among health centers to provide citizens of Tajikistan with access to COVID-19 vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Tajikistan was launched by the Government of Tajikistan in March last year. So far 70.9% of the target population received two doses of the vaccine. Recently, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population of Tajikistan updated the national vaccination guidelines and launched the third, booster dose vaccination for priority population groups.

Saidamir Mukhitdinzoda is a doctor in the city health center #9 in Dushanbe, and one of the first to receive the vaccine back in March 2021.

Just like everyone around me, I was afraid, because I heard a lot of rumors about vaccines. I also had a lot of questions about the side effects of the vaccination.

Saidamir Mukhitdinzoda, a doctor in the city health center #9 in Dushanbe
A doctor sitting in the hospital
UNICEF/Tajikistan/2022/M. Ruziev

Sayohat Mamajonova, Deputy Director of the city health center #9 in Dushanbe, says that since early February 2022, many of her employees have been vaccinated with the booster dose.

“After the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we had community consultations with youth, mahala and religious leaders. We explained the benefits and importance of the vaccination and the herd immunity" recalls Sayohat. She shared that these consultations have helped increase the vaccination coverage among the population.

Shakhrinoz Shakarshoeva is 53 years old and lives in Dushanbe. Shakhrinoz believes that a positive attitude plays an important role in people’s perception of the vaccine.

“It is important for one to think positively. During these past 2.5 years, I didn’t get sick with COVID-19, but I still got vaccinated as soon as vaccines became available in Tajikistan. I also recommend vaccination to my family and friends,” says Shakhrinoz.

 

A woman getting her vaccine shot
UNICEF/Tajikistan/2022/M. Ruziev
Shakhrinoz Shakarshoeva receives her booster dose in the city health center #9 in Dushanbe.

For everyone who wants to be vaccinated in Tajikistan, several brands of vaccines from different manufacturers are currently available. Over 5,2 million doses of vaccines have been delivered from the manufacture to the country by UNICEF via the COVAX facility.

Director of Republican Immunoprophylactic
UNICEF/Tajikistan/2022/M. Ruziev

“In the Republic of Tajikistan, at the moment, residents have access to five brands of vaccines against COVID-19: CoronaVac, Covishield (Oxford/ AstraZeneca formulation), Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sputnik V. All of them are distributed among all health centers across the country."

Head of the Republican Immunoprophylaxis Center, Dr. Faizali Saidzoda

To support citizens with the provision of reliable information on COVID-19 vaccines and other information related to the pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population has launched the 511 hotline. Hotline specialists are working in 6 call centers that provide services nationwide and are available to respond 24/7. The hotline was strengthened with support from the World Bank-financed Tajikistan Emergency COVID-19 Project (TEC-19).

Since April 2020, TEC-19 is supporting Tajikistan’s efforts to respond to health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic. In addition to vaccine support, the project helped strengthen Intensive Care Units in 10 hospitals across Tajikistan and invested in oxygen supply in 15 hospitals. It provided one-time cash assistance to over 164,000 vulnerable households and is supporting important measures to strengthen COVID-19 communication and public outreach. A total of $57.5 million in grant financing was provided from the World Bank to Tajikistan through TEC-19.

The World Bank and UNICEF partnership in supporting the Government of Tajikistan’s vaccination targets will continue: About 2 million vaccine doses will be procured with World Bank financing in the coming months under TEC-19, which will allow to vaccinate another 8% of the population. Vaccines will be procured through UNICEF using the COVAX mechanism.