Kirkuk Health Department decided to launch a large-scale campaign to vaccinate citizens against the Corona virus via nine mobile teams that will visit schools, universities, institutes and departments, and "those who refuse to receive the vaccine will be prevented from working."
The new campaign, scheduled to start in few weeks, is part of the ongoing preparations to confront the "fourth wave of the Corona epidemic", which is expected to escalate according to health officials in Kirkuk and other Iraqi governorates starting next month as temperature degrees sharply drop down.
Sabah Namiq, head of the Health Department at the Kirkuk Health Presidency, told (KirkukNow) "We have formed mobile teams, we will start from schools and we will vaccinate students at the age of 12 and above... After that, we will start a campaign to vaccinate citizens at their homes."
Statistics from the Kirkuk Health Department indicate that the proportion of those who received the vaccine in Kirkuk governorate so far has not exceeded 10 percent.
There is great interaction in schools, universities and institutes, which leads to an exacerbation of infection rates
"This percentage is very low and we fear that the fourth wave will be more dangerous if the situation remains as it is now," Namiq added.
"There is great interaction in schools, universities and institutes, which leads to an exacerbation of infection rates."
The steps taken by the Kirkuk Health Department come at a time when statistics indicate that the infection rate in the province is "low, and two deaths are recorded per day," but it seems that it aims to take precautionary measures to reduce the risks of the "fourth wave of Corona."
Despite the sharp recession in infection cases from below 800 infections on November 18 all over Iraq to almost 14,000 in a day in July, the peak of the third wave which has eased in August, yet the current efforts aim at higher turnout for vaccination as up to day 6.9 million Iraqis have been vaccinated.
Kirkuk Health Department has placed citizens in front of two options by receiving the Corona vaccine in order to protect themselves or facing more severe consequences, as part of the measures aimed at confronting the Corona epidemic as schools open doors for in class education in Autumn season where temperature drops down.
Early November, the Iraqi Ministry of Health based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization WHO has decided to grant the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine to starting from 12 years and over, coinciding with the start of the new school year on November 1, 2021.
Only 285,000 Kirkukis out of 1.6 million population have received the Covid vaccination as a campaing of misinformation and disinformation encourage people to reject vaccination under claims it leads to death and impotence.
Located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, the oil-rich city of Kirkuk is an ethnically mixed province for 1.6 million Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen, Muslims, Christians and Kaka'is. It has long been at the center of disputes between Baghdad and the Erbil.
In this context, it is also planned to take a series of other measures, including publishing health guidelines and instructions, and organizing seminars aimed at better awareness for the public.
On August 22, 2021, the Kirkuk administration stipulated, based on a decision by the Iraqi government, that employees and citizens who visit government departments to complete should show a vaccination card conduct or a negative PCR test.
Nabil Hamdi Boushnaq, Director General of Kirkuk Health, said the new decisions by Kirkuk administration aims to compel staff of universities, institutes and schools to receive the Corona vaccine.
"It is a very important topic, and it is decided that any employee who does not comply with the vaccination decision will be suspended from his work until he complies with the instructions in order to keep everyone safe."
Boushnaq stressed that the Health Department has formed nine mobile teams throughout the governorate, and "mobile teams will visit any department, institution, or organization that asks them to do so and will provide them with facilities and vaccine doses."
Iraq has eased restrictions of full curfew during the weekends and partial curfew at night in May as people protested the negative impact on their income. The Iraqi ministry of education has opened doors for class education on November 1st as it has imposed vaccination of teachers and pupils older than 12 while Kurdistan regional government KRG has opened school doors for class education Mid September with obligatory masking for teachers and pupils.