The region crossed the 5 million mark amid the early-stage distribution of vaccines and hopes that shots from Pfizer and partner BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca could bring outbreaks under control this year.
A WHO-backed plan to divide up vaccines fairly, called Covax, could be sending supplies to poorer countries in the coming weeks, the agency’s immunisation director Kate O’Brien said on Thursday.
Dr Al Mandhari, a former medical consultant and official in Oman’s Health Ministry, said vaccine supplies were welcome across the Middle East but it was “still too early to celebrate in our region".
“An approved vaccine will be available only for the most vulnerable groups in the coming months, and it may be many more months after that before the rest of the population is vaccinated,” he said.
“During this critical time, it is up to each one of us to remain alert and practise the proven preventive measures that we know can protect us and our loved ones against Covid-19.”