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Bahrain Becomes Second Country To Approve Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

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Bahrain said it had approved the emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, Aljazeera reports.

The approval on Friday, 4 December, makes Bahrain the second country in the world to grant an emergency use authorisation for the vaccine. The United Kingdom became the first on Wednesday.

Bahrain did not say how many vaccines it has purchased, nor when vaccinations would begin, it did not immediately respond to questions from The associated press news agency, nor did Pfizer.

The immediate challenge for Bahrain would be the conditions in which the vaccine must be kept because they must be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures of approximately minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Bahrain is a middle east nation that regularly sees temperatures in the summer of about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) with high humidity.

Bahrain has also granted emergency-use authorisation for a Chinese vaccine made by Sinopharm and has inoculated some 6,000 people with it.

“The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the Kingdom’s national COVID-19 response, Mariam al-Jalahma, the chief executive of NHRA told BNA.

BioNTech which owns the vaccine said it has so far signed deals to supply 570 million doses worldwide in 2021, with options to deliver 600 million more and It hopes to supply at least 1.3 billion in 2021.

Bahrain, home to the US navy’s 5th Fleet is a small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.

With a population of 1.6 million, it has reported more than 87,000 cases and 341 deaths according to the government. More than 85,000 people have recovered from the COVID-19 illness that is caused by the virus.

The country is also home to a large expatriate population with many low-paid labourers from Southeast Asia living in over-crowded housing.

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