“After I took the first dose weeks ago, here I am today to take the second dose in order to preserve my safety, the safety of my family, and the society… I invite everyone to get vaccinated with the anti-Coronavirus,” says Adnan Omar, from the vaccination ward at Tal Afar General Hospital.
He assures that “the vaccine-specialised staff show assistance and deal kindly with the visitors.” At a time when the hospital administration confirms, “the demand for the vaccine has increased in recent months, especially by school and university students and staff.”
In Tal Afar, local authorities, international and local organisations, places of worship, the university and the local community have stepped up efforts to limit the spread of the Corona pandemic in the district.
The clans, in turn, with the outbreak of the epidemic early 2020, organised a large campaign to donate money in order to equip the two quarantine centres with the necessary supplies.
The Tribal Committee has taken upon itself to call on citizens to adhere to the means of prevention, limit gatherings, and cancel public gatherings of funerals and weddings in order to avoid an increase in the number of infected people.
Houses of worship urged citizens to abide by the decisions of the crisis cell through loudspeakers.
Video: A campaign to spray the markets in Tal Afar by civil defense, health department, volunteers and paramedics of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Video by KirkukNow.
A local resident has donated to purchase three medical devices to detect the virus, to contribute to limiting its spread, in a move that was praised by the locals and was remarkably circulated on social media platforms.
The private pharmacies also strengthened their role and took the initiative to distribute masks for free for citizens in need and passers-by.
Volunteer teams and civil society organisations organised seminars and awareness campaigns and distributed masks to citizens in different areas of Tal Afar, including restaurants, shops and crowded markets, while international organisations distributed hygiene supplies and sterilisers in some neighborhoods of Tal Afar.
“We organised several awareness campaigns and distributed hundreds of leaflets in various areas of Tal Afar, to urge vaccination and adherence to social distancing measures to limit the spread of the epidemic, at a time when the health sector in the district suffers from a lack of government funding,” says Hassan Abdullah, an activist from Tal Afar.
Tal Afar General Hospital, the only hospital in the district, receives visitors from the neighbor districts and sub-districts of western Nineveh.
Tal Afar is a Turkman-majority city located approximately 63 km west of Mosul. Sunni Turkmen account for approximately three-quarters of the 524,000 population while Shi’a Turkmen make up the remaining quarter.
ISIS captured Tal Afar on 16 June 2014, shortly after the fall of Mosul, and occupied the city for over three years. The ISIS advance caused the displacement of approximately 200,000 people from the city. However, a significant part of the Sunni population, 50,000 people by some estimates remained in the city throughout the ISIS occupation.
Military operations to retake Tal Afar from ISIS took place from 20 to 31 August 2017 and were conducted by a mix of federal, coalition and PMF forces which urged 60% of the displaced to return home.
Daesh committed atrocities in June 2014 when they captured Tal Afar. 1300 people were abducted: 700 men, 470 women and 130 children, among them 400-500 in ISIS controlled prisons in Syria, a statement by Turkmen civil society NGOs said last year.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided some medical supplies to the two centres, including hand sanitisers, face masks, and materials to help doctors and nurses.
Daily increase in numbers of vaccinated people
“The vaccination port in Tal Afar Hospital continues to receive citizens and to administer the anti-Covid-19 vaccine throughout the week, and the number of vaccinated people per day sometimes exceeds 100 citizens,” says Dr. Jaafar Mohsen, a doctor from Tal Afar.
The health staff are carrying out awareness campaigns about the importance of taking the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity.Dr. Jaafar Mohsen.
He stressed “the necessity of adhering to the dates specified in the vaccine card to ensure the flow of work at the vaccination port and the prior electronic reservation through the electronic platform launched by the Ministry of Health.”
Iraq joined the jab race last March when it received a batch of 50,000 of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines. Up to March 4th, Iraq has registered about 2.3 million infections resulted in 29,000 deaths while almost ten million Iraqis have been vaccinated, daily updates by Iraqi ministry of health shows. Nineveh province has recorded about 1,000 deaths out of 90,000 positive cases.
Regarding the percentage of those vaccinated, KirkukNow reporter was unable to obtain it, despite contacting the local administration and the Directorate general for health of Nineveh, as they confirmed they had instructions from the Ministry of Health not to disclose it, at least for the time being.
The administration of Tal Afar General Hospital, for its part, confirmed the hospital still receives patients at a rate of 10-12 cases per day, and records deaths from time to time among the infected.
The academic institutions such as Tal Afar University continues to hold its scientific seminars on the necessity of taking the vaccine and its role in limiting the spread of the epidemic.
The role and type of rumour!
“Rumours affected some, including myself, regarding the Corona vaccine, but later I went to a health centre to get the vaccine to be safe from infection,” says Rand Ali, a university student from Tal Afar.
Some media and communication sites at the time, there were rumours related to the negative effects of the vaccine against the Corona epidemic that result in chronic diseases or cause sterility or others, which prompted some citizens to avoid it, especially after the emergence of some personalities who presented themselves as doctors and specialists in this field.
Some media and social networking sites played a negative role in the beginning, but the truth was soon discovered and people began to turn heavily to get the vaccine.Rand Ali.