BRISTOL: In this file photo taken on December 8, 2020 a member of staff draws the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine out of a phial at the Southmead Hospital, Bristol. - AFP

KUWAIT: Kuwait's Ministry of Health (MOH) reiterated the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines as the country has opened online registration to the public for vaccination against the deadly virus. The new service, available via a link on the Ministry's website, went operational Thursday, allowing people to register in order to be inoculated at a future date to be determined later.

"As part of preparation for the vaccination campaign, the Ministry developed an operating mechanism and a detailed plan outlining the segments of the public who have priority access to the vaccine," Spokesman of the Ministry of Health said Thursday evening as he announced launching a campaign for online registration for vaccination through the link "Early registration does not necessarily lead to early vaccination or priority; it only provides the ministry with the data that could help identify the prioritized segments of the public and the required quantity and distribution of the vaccine," he explained.

"It can help conduct the vaccination in an easy and orderly way, taking into account of the numbers of citizens and foreign residents, including illegal residents," Dr Sanad further noted. The public vaccination campaign targets everybody and will be conducted in coordination with all competent state bodies, he said, voicing hope that all people will register in the coming few days.

One death
Kuwait had listed 255 new coronavirus infections yesterday, raising total cases to 146,044, while the death toll reached 911 after one fatality was recorded over the previous 24 hours. Meanwhile, total recoveries reached 141,825 with 256 new ones announced yesterday. On Friday, Kuwait announced it registered 294 new cases, zero deaths and 310 recoveries.

The number of patients hospitalized stood at 3,308 yesterday, including 68 in intensive care units, up from 66 the previous day. Health workers conducted 4,824 swab tests in the previous 24 hours, Dr Sanad said yesterday, compared to 6,725 registered the previous day. The total number of swab tests taken since the outbreak of the disease stood at 1,176,983 yesterday.

The rollout of the vaccine in Kuwait remains pending approval by international and local regulators, the health ministry explained in a separate statement after a condition in the application form requiring people to bear responsibility over the personal information they enter raised some public concerns about the vaccine's potential safety. "An attached declaration to complete pre-registration for immunization from the virus on the ministry's official website is not intended to disclaim responsibility for the safety of the vaccine," read a ministry press release.

The admission is intended to remove liability in the event the applicant chooses to provide incorrect information about their medical history or to conceal necessary information about their health condition, which may lead to complications as a result, the ministry further explained. The ministry went on to underline its commitment to the role it was entrusted with to maintain public health through means of prevention and the treatment of diseases and pandemics. It noted that some "complications" have resulted from the request leading to a change in the declaration's wording to prevent confusion.

Multi-phased approach
Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah had stated on Thursday that Kuwait would start administering shots of a coronavirus vaccine to its population as soon as the jab is given the green light by regulatory agencies around the world, hoping that would happen before the end of the year. Kuwait's vaccination campaign would be a multi-phased approach likely to last for a year, starting with "priority groups" first, he explained.

Kuwait has signed deals with drug manufacturers AstraZeneca PLC and Pfizer Inc for the delivery of their respective COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to some nine others to be chosen shortly, he revealed. He cited the International Fairground in Mishref area as the country's designated vaccine center, where an estimated 10,000 people could be given their COVID-19 shots in a single day. A digital certificate would be given to show who has been vaccinated for coronavirus, the minister added, promising a "smooth and seamless" process. - KUNA