DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — 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.
“The confirmation of approval by the National Health Regulatory Authority of the kingdom of Bahrain followed thorough analysis and review undertaken by the authority of all available data,” the kingdom said on its state-run Bahrain News Agency.
Bahrain did not say how may vaccines it has purchased. It did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.
Bahrain had already granted emergency-use authorization for a Chinese vaccine made by Sinopharm.
Bahrain, home to the U.S. 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 illness that is caused by the virus.
The country is also home to a large expatriate population, with many low-paid labourers from southeast Asia living in tight housing. In July, authorities told the AP they had moved 8,000 labourers to new accommodations, disinfected housing and implemented a rule requiring no more than five labourers per room, with about 3 metres (10 feet) of space for each one.
The Bahraini government says it has conducted over 2 million coronavirus tests across the island. It initially blamed its higher per-capita infection rate on that.
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