Due to arrive in early 2021, Covid-19 vaccines are due to be distributed among Kuwait nationals. Kuwait has reportedly signed up for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and plans to distribute it for free amongst both nationals and expats, choosing not to impose fees on foreign members of Kuwait’s population (which make up about 70 per cent of the overall population).
Expats that are due to leave may not receive the vaccination
It’s a big gesture, but with a new law due to come into effect on 1 January 2021 that will see more than 70,000 expats aged 60 or over living in Kuwait forced to leave the country, as the government plans to ‘rebalance’ the population, it will likely not mean as big a vaccine distribution as it might previously have.
Commenting on the new regulation on expats, a government source told Gulf News: “There is no going back, exemption or modifying this decision.” Although, the Ministry of Health has now clarified that the new changes will not affect ‘those who hold a post-secondary diploma or higher’.
Kuwait may experience some pushback on a new vaccine
Those who are vulnerable, including people living with chronic diseases and the elderly, as well as frontline workers, will be given the vaccine first.
Overall, 3.2 million of Kuwait’s 3.5 million population (the number of people that are officially classed as ‘adults’) are eligible for the vaccine.
However, local news outlet Al Qabas recently reported that 46 per cent of Kuwaitis say they would refuse to take the vaccine. In fact, only 39 per cent said they would take it, the remainder being unsure.