The COVID-19 vaccination roll out has commenced in Iraq. However, public mistrust  around the COVID-19 vaccine  persists. 

The hope to overcome the epidemic has been undermined by the public suspicion of the vaccine, which may have grown stronger than the fear of the disease itself. 

This article presents information about the available COVID-19 vaccines, their side effects, who can take them and how these vaccines provide immunity against COVID-19. 

Will I be immune to coronavirus if I only take one shot of a vaccine? 

If a particular type of vaccine requires taking two doses, then taking one doze may not provide sufficient immunity to protect against virus. It is strongly recommended that one takes the two prescribed doses of a vaccine and within the specified period between them. For most vaccines, the recommended time period between the two shots is 21 days. 

Can the COVID-19 vaccine infect you with the coronavirus (1)? 

No, the virus that causes COVID-19 is not used in the COVID-19 vaccines. However, the human body takes up to several weeks to build up immunity after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, it may be possible that you will be susceptible to the virus from external sources immediately before or after the vaccination. It is strongly recommended to continue following all precautionary measures before and during the first weeks after the vaccination, including wearing protective masks, washing hands with regularity and maintaining social distance. 

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine (2)? 

Some people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Britain mentioned that they experienced some side effects. However, these side effects were limited to sore throat and swelling around the injection site. These results came out after a survey that included more than 40,000 people who received the vaccine, and they mentioned that they recovered a few days after the beginning of the side effects of the vaccine. 

Most new vaccines do not include the virus itself, but they contain the anti-virus bodies (anti-bodies) or harmless copies of some parts of the virus to stimulate the immunity in the body in order to prepare it to confront the virus in the event that the body is exposed to the infection. 


How can I register for the vaccine (3)? 


On 1st of March, the Iraqi Ministry of Health launched an online platform to register citizens wishing to receive the Coronavirus vaccine. 

The online platform was launched in Arabic and Kurdish concomitantly with the arrival of the vaccine batches, including 50,000 doses provided by China as a donation to the Iraqis. 

To access the form and register for the vaccine in Iraqi governorates, click here. 

To register for the Covid-19 vaccine in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, click here.

What are the groups that are advised against the vaccine (4)? 

1- People who are allergic to any of the vaccine components. 

2- Children and adolescents under the age of 16. 

3- Pregnant and breastfeeding women who are planning to become pregnant within the next three months. 

4- People living with HIV/AIDS. 

5- People who suffer from at least one of the symptoms of corona infection. 

6- People who have recently received or are planning to receive another vaccination in the following few weeks. 

What are the groups included in the vaccine (5)? 

The Iraqi Ministry of Health has identified priority groups of people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine: 

1- Healthcare staff. 

2- People over 50 years old. 

3- People with chronic diseases. 

4- Those who are included in the social protection network, and the displaced and refugees in the camps. 

5- Workers in state residential institutions (orphanages, nursing homes, healthcare facilities, psychiatric wards) and prisons. 6- Members of the security forces. 

7- People living with cancer, immune disorders, and hereditary blood diseases. 

8- People of high-risk professions: workers at border crossings and train stations, teaching staff, media professionals, restaurant workers, prison inmates, and residents in state institutions. 


What vaccines are available in Iraq? 

1- Sinofarm vaccine. It is a vaccine made from the virus itself, and the vaccine works by driving the human immune system to manufacture antibodies, which are associated with viral proteins, the so-called spinal proteins, to develop the immunity against the virus. According to New York Times, researchers used three types of virus taken from infected people in Chinese hospitals, as well as possible mutations, in designing this vaccine.(1). 

2- Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a completely new type made from messenger RNAs (mRNAs)— bits of genetic material that, in this case, instruct cells to produce fragments of the coronavirus’s spike protein. Pfizer and BioNTech’s own analysis of their data showed that the vaccine (which is given in two doses, three weeks apart) is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19. Its efficacy was similar across all age, sex, racial and ethnic groups studied, including people with underlying health conditions such as heart or pulmonary disease or obesity. The companies said their vaccine showed significant efficacy, even just two weeks after a single dose, and the FDA’s analysis confirmed these findings. It remains to be seen, however, how long the protection will last(5). 

3- Oxford-AstraZeneca  is a vaccine taken in two doses three weeks apart designed to prevent the coronavirus in people aged 18 and older. It is made up of an adenovirus that has been modified to contain the gene for making a protein from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Late-stage clinical trials found the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot to have an average efficacy of 70% in protecting against the virus(6). 

A more recent study by Oxford researchers found that the AstraZeneca vaccine was 76% effective at preventing symptomatic infection for three months after a single dose and that the efficacy rate actually rose with a longer interval between the first and second doses. 

With the diversity of anti-virus vaccines, can we combine any of these vaccines (7)? 

Most anti-coronavirus vaccines are taken in two doses with a prescribed time interval between them. It is worth noting that the British authorities has recommended avoiding combining vaccines. The head of the immunization department at the Public Health Authority, Mary Ramsey, said: “Merging the vaccine is not recommended, but it can only happen on a small scale.. If your first dose is the "Pfizer-Bionic" vaccine, you should not get the "Oxford AstraZeneca" vaccine for your second dose, and vice versa." 

Is it okay to take over-the-counter pain relievers, either before or after a COVID-19 vaccine(8)? 

It is not recommended to take pain relievers before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It is unclear how these drugs may affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. However, it is okay to take pain-killers after receiving the vaccine provided there is no other medical reason against it. 


1-  click here  

2- BBC 

3- The Iraqi Ministry of Health 

4- Alhurra News 

5- The Iraqi Ministry of Health 

6- Sky News 

7- Scientific American news paper 

8- CNBC news paper 


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