Bahrain becomes second nation to allow emergency use of Pfizer vaccine

Vastavam web: The island kingdom of Bahrain said Friday it has become the second nation in the world to grant an emergency-use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. The state-run Bahrain News Agency made the announcement on Friday night, following an earlier announcement by the United Kingdom on Wednesday, making Britain the first in the world. Bahrain did not say how may vaccines it has purchased, nor when vaccinations would begin. It did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.

Pfizer later told the AP that the details of its sales agreement with Bahrain, including the “timing of delivery and the volume of doses,” was confidential and declined to comment. “We have developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support effective vaccine transport, storage and continuous temperature monitoring, Pfizer said. “Our distribution is built on a flexible just in time system which will ship the frozen vials to the point of vaccination.”

Bahrain does have a state-owned carrier, Gulf Air, that it could use to transport the vaccines. In the nearby United Arab Emirates, the Dubai-based long-haul carrier Emirates has already said it is preparing its facilities to distribute vaccines at ultra-cold temperatures. The vaccine also requires two doses be given three weeks apart.

Bahrain had already granted emergency-use authorization for a Chinese vaccine made by Sinopharm and has inoculate some 6,000 people with it. That vaccine, an “inactivated” shot made by growing the whole virus in a lab and then killing it, also is in use in the UAE. 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. 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. Over 85,000 people have recovered from the COVID-19 .