The National Vaccine Campaign against COVID-19 is underway in Syria.

With the aim of providing a vaccine that alleviates the catastrophic effects of the Corona epidemic, the Syrian Ministry of Health launched the national vaccination campaign to fight the Covid 19 epidemic. The campaign primarily targets health workers on the front lines, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases, teachers, and workers in a number of institutions whose employees have direct contact with people.

Homs governorate, just like the rest of the Syrian governorates, is keen to fulfill the vaccination campaign in an optimal way, as Dr. Muhammad Rabo’uni, head of the first health district, told Syria Times e-newspaper.

He shows that the Karm Al-Lawz Hospital and Al-Basel health center in Wadi Al-Dahab area, which belong to the first health district, receive up to 150 citizens to get the first dose of the Swedish AstraZeneca Covid -19 vaccine .

About the various side effects of the vaccine, Dr. Rabo’uni confirmed that there are no critical or serious effects that have been noticed since the beginning of the campaign until now, except for some immediate side effects at the injection site.He hoped that the campaign will achieve its hoped-for goals.

Dr. Ziad Layous, head of the Child and Vaccination Division at the Homs Health Directorate, explained that the Homs Health Directorate has taken a lot of procedures that ensure the success of the vaccination campaign.

He said, “Six hospitals and 13 health centers distributed in 12 health areas have been accredited to provide people with the vaccine, taking into account the geographical distribution over the entire governorate. We have also adopted mobile teams to remote areas such as the central prison, Al-Qaryaten, the assembly of Kafriya and Al Fou’a in the Hisia area.”

With regard to the types of vaccines approved in the campaign, Dr. Layous said that there are three types of vaccines, which are Sputnik Light, one dose, Sino pharm, two doses with three weeks between the first and second dose and AstraZeneca, which is also taken in two doses, with an interval of eight weeks between the two doses.

Regarding the public turnout at the vaccination centers, he said that the Directorate of Health in Homs, even before the campaign, conducted several communication campaigns with the aim of raising health awareness among citizens regarding the necessity of getting the vaccine.

“Some centers receive more than 700 people per day, while the number does not exceed thirty in other centers. I think that this disparity is due to misconceptions about the vaccine, as well as to the poor health awareness of people in some areas. But in general, there is a remarkable turnout, as more than 10,000 persons were vaccinated during the first week of the campaign,” Dr. Layous added.

Dr. Lou’ay Mar’ei, director of Tel Kalakh National Hospital, said, "To prevent the rapid spread of the Corona epidemic, as is happening in some countries, international countries have mobilized all their energies to spread the vaccine, as it is an urgent necessity and a health strategy approved by all countries of the world."

“Global statistics indicate that there are a large number of patients, along with a significant number of people who incubate the disease without showing any symptoms, so the vaccine is the ideal way to prevent these hidden incubators from infecting the healthy people,” Dr. Mar’ei clarified.

The vaccination office holder at Tel Kalakh National Hospital, Shiraz Ibrahim said, "The campaign aims to vaccinate a large segment of society, especially with an increase in the number of infections. Anyone from the age of 18 years and above can obtain the vaccine except for pregnant and lactating women, those with previous allergic problems, and those who are infected with severe diseases, stressing the importance of vaccination as it prevents severe complications of the virus and reduces cases admitted to hospitals.

Shiraz clarified, “after the person is vaccinated, he is asked to wait about ten minutes in the center to follow up on his health, while giving him instructions about the possible side effects, the most common of which are high fever, general fatigue, and headache.”

It is worth noting that the vaccination campaign, which was launched on September 5, will continue until the 16th of the same month.

Interviewed by: Amal Farhat