Erjan BAITANAYEV, spokesman for the Committee for Public Health and Desease Control of Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry:
KAZAKHSTAN’S MINISTERS, GOVERNORS AND MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ARE INOCULATED AGAINST COVID-19 AMONG THE FIRST IN ORDER TO SHOW THE VACCINE SAFETY
Exactly a year ago, on March 13, the first COVID-19 cases were registered in Kazakhstan. Two of our citizens, who arrived from Germany were diagnosed with the coronavirus. In the past year medics have registered more than 272,000 COVID-19 and coronavirus pneumonia cases in the country, which claimed the lives of several thousand Kazakhstani citizens. Over this period Kazakhstani citizens have gone through several series of lockdowns, a state of emergency, a summer collapse in the health care system, they have learned to work and study remotely. In an interview with Interfax-Kazakhstan Spokesman for the Committee for Public Health and Desease Control of Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry Erjan BAITANAYEV talked about measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, progress of vaccinations against COVID-19 and why officials are at the vaccination forefront.
- Erjan Khalievich, on February 1 the mass vaccination of the population against COVID-19 began in our country. When will the first domestic vaccine [dose] be expected in vaccination rooms? Does Kazakhstan intend to increase the production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine on the premises of the Karaganda pharmaceutical factory this year? What vaccines could appear in the republic in the near future in addition to the domestic and Russian ones?
- Currently Kazakhstan continues with efforts to vaccinate individuals against the coronavirus using the Gam-COVID-Vac ( Sputnik V) vaccine, which was manufactured in the Russian Federation. On February 22 vaccinations with the second dose began.
In addition, the Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine amounting to 93,000 doses produced on the premises of the Karaganda pharmaceutical factory got joined the vaccination process. By the end of this month, the deliveries of about 150,000 doses of this vaccine are expected. Also, currently the Health Ministry is in talks with foreign manufacturers on purchasing other vaccines.
From the second quarter of this year it is planned to get the domestically produced substance QazCovid-In joined the vaccination process, which is currently in the Phase 3 clinical trials.
The vaccine is being distributed evenly across all the regions given required volumes.
- How many people were inoculated against COVID-19 in Kazakhstan?
- As of March 11, 2021, 58,796 people received the first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine. Among them there are more than 40,000 health care workers and more than 5,000 teachers. The second dose of the vaccine was asministered to 18 431 people.
- Why are members of maslikhats [local representative bodies] , the Majilis [the lower chamber of Kazakhstan’s Parliament], governors and other officials being inoculated in Kazakhstan alongside health care workers, teachers, military servicemen, who have been included in the first batch to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
- The first stage of vaccination in Kazakhstan covers health care workers, who, since the very beginning of the pandemic, have been at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus.
The deputy ministers of health, heads of local health departments, deputy governors in charge of health care issues could not help but support their colleagues in this important event for the whole country, and also show the vaccine safety and meaningfulness of vaccination by personal example.
It is also worth noting that the aforementioned officials lead and participate in anti-epidemic measures and often go on business trips, visit medical organizations where the infection risk is high.
Vaccinations of the members of the maslikhats and the Majilis are scheduled for March-April, when vaccine large volumes will be available.
Lately I have myself received the first dose of the vaccine at an outpatient clinic where I am assigned to. In my official capacity, I have to attend regularly anti-epidemic events, participate in filming, give interviews, etc. For the sake of safety, both my own and of my loved ones, I decided to receive a Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine produced at the Karaganda pharmaceutical factory.
- The Kazakh president spoke about the so-called missing and hidden COVID-19 cases in the regions of the country. Is there an investigation into this issue underway, how many such hidden cases have been identified? Which region is taking the “lead” in the cover-up?
- In East Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, Akmola, Kostanai regions, mistakes were made during the disease outbreak in the summer months. Most of the cases were linked with untimely reporting in official statistics due to emergency information late submissions when the number of patients in medical organizations increased. Staff shortages played a role in this situation as well. 273 unaccounted cases were revealed in East Kazakhstan region, 177 - in North Kazakhstan region, 59 - in Pavlodar region, 112 - in Akmola region, 58 - in Kostanai region.
- Were these cases included in the overall statistics?
- Yes, immediately upon clarification they were reflected in the overall statistics on the COVID-19 incidence.
- What measures are being taken to prevent COVID-19?
- All measures are being taken by the government and the Health Ministry to stabilize the epidemiological situation and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
Quarantine hospitals have been deployed in order to boost sanitary and quarantine supervision over arriving individuals.
Specific indicators of the effectiveness of measures aimed at providing medical care have been devised for the regional administrations [and they are] such as: congestion of hospital beds, provision of medicines, equipment, ventilators, personal protective equipment etc. On the basis of the results of their monitoring, fast-track measures measures are being taken.
In order to provide timely assistance to patients with coronavirus, regional expert groups have been created, consisting of the region’s leading specialist experts.
Medical organizations are working on providing local populations with medicines, staff, on setting up anti-crisis task forces at medical organizations, mobile teams and organizing ‘hospital at home’ conditions, as well as anti-epidemic measures to protect health care workers and residents. The ministry conducts regularly training seminars for doctors various by training, who are involved in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with coronavirus.
Call centers have been reinforced by medics from medical universities for consultation. More than 3,000 mobile primary health care teams have been created to provide medical care at home. Remote medical services using smartphones have been expanded, which made it possible to cover 20% more patients using video systems. Remote surveilance of patients with COVID-19 asymptomatic and mild forms has been organized.
- Thank you for the interview!
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