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Covid-19: Jordan urges participation as vaccination programme begins

Amman aims to vaccinate at least 20-25 percent of population, but only 200,000 have signed up so far
Citizens over 60 will be given priority for the vaccine but officials have said many have not signed up for the shot (Reuters)

Jordan began a programme on Wednesday to innoculate one in four of its 10 million population with the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The government aims to vaccinate between 20-25 percent of the population, but only 200,000 people have signed up since registration opened in December.

"We call on people to come to our centres to take the doses," Wael Hayajneh, a senior health official, told reporters in Amman. 

Citizens over the age of 60 will be given priority in the first phase of the programme. 

Jordan's Covid-19 infection rates have dropped sharply since their peak in November, when authorities reintroduced curbs on movement that had been eased during the summer. 

'We call on people to come to our centres to take the doses'

- Wael Hayajneh, health official

On Tuesday, it recorded 1,176 cases and 33 deaths. Amman has already approved the Pfizer and China's Sinopharm vaccine to be rolled out in 29 vaccine centres across the country. 

Health Minister Nathir Obeidat has said that Jordan's government were in talks with manufacturers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. 

Officials hope the vaccination programme will help Jordan's ailing economy, which has declined by three percent in the last year. 

King Abdullah II on Tuesday also ordered the government to reduce remaining restrictions on mobility and strive to reopen schools and universities, which have been shut for nearly a year.