November 4, 2021 – Bishkek – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $2.8 million to support the Kyrgyz Republic in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s health system. The new funding will support vaccination efforts, train health care workers, and improve healthcare information systems.
“Safe and effective vaccines are the best tools we have against COVID-19. In order to save lives, rebuild the economy, and stop the threat of new variants, we must vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible” said Keith Simmons, Acting Mission Director for USAID.
Addressing vaccine hesitancy is a major component of USAID’s support for the country’s vaccination campaign. USAID will work with the Republican Center for Immunoprophylaxis, the Republican Center for Health Promotion and Mass Communication and UNICEF to roll out a communications and outreach plan to promote vaccines and increase vaccination rates across the country.
Speaking on the importance of vaccination against COVID, Dr. Asel Sartbaeva, Kyrgyz expert on vaccines at the University of Bath said, “Vaccines save millions of lives today, it is much easier and cheaper to prevent infection than to treat it. Current vaccines have been developed and extensively trialed to produce efficacious and safe vaccines. All the data from clinical trials is openly available so that anyone can see it and understand it. I would encourage everyone in Kyrgyzstan to get vaccinated. This will protect you, your family, your relatives and especially all the vulnerable people in the society across the whole country.”
The funding will also support activities related to counseling on vaccination, vaccine transportation, storage and administration, and vaccine waste management — all key components of a successful vaccination campaign. Health care personnel will also be trained to recognize and treat rare complications following immunization.
USAID will provide the funding through Abt Associates and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Kyrgyz Republic last March, the United States has provided more than $8 million for pandemic response to procure personal protective equipment, upgrade labs for faster testing results, improve health information systems, train medical professionals, and inform Kyrgyzstanis about the risks related to COVID-19.
In October, the United States also donated more than 250,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX mechanism.