Bahrain now grants permission to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

According to Associated Press, Bahrain has become the second nation in the world to permit emergency-use authorization for the Coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. The state-run Bahrain News Agency announced this on Friday night, after an earlier announcement by the United Kingdom on Wednesday, making Britain the first in the world.

Bahrain made no comments with regards to how may vaccines it has purchased, nor when vaccinations would commence. It did not respond to questions from the Associated Press. The Pfizer shots, a so-called mRNA vaccine, consists of a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to detect the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.


Pfizer later told the AP, the details of its sales agreement with Bahrain, including the “timing of delivery and the volume of doses,” were not be disclosed and also declined to comment. “We have developed detailed logistical plans and tools to facilitate effective vaccine transport, storage and continuous temperature monitoring,” Pfizer said. “Our distribution is built on a flexible just in time system which will ship the frozen vials to the point of vaccination.”

The main hurdle for Bahrain would be the conditions in which the vaccine must be kept. It must be stored and shipped at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit). Bahrain is a Middle East nation that regularly witnesses temperatures in the summer of around 40 C (104 Fahrenheit) with high humidity. Bahrain operates a state-owned carrier, Gulf Air, that could be used to transport the vaccine.

Bahrain had already granted emergency-use authorization for a Chinese vaccine made by Sinopharm and has inoculated some 6,000 people with it. That vaccine, an “inactivated” shot made by cultivating and growing the whole virus in a lab and then killing it, also is in use in the UAE. Pfizer’s vaccine does not contain the Coronavirus itself.

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 approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the kingdom’s national COVID-19 response, which has strongly prioritized protecting the health of all citizens and residents during the pandemic,” said Dr Mariam al-Jalahma, the CEO of Bahrain’s National Health Regulatory Authority.