how Mongolia is progressing in the race for vaccines
Once the virus circulated, she added, it spread rapidly through cities on crowded public transport – cases peaked at around 2,500 a day in late April, from an average of around 40 new infections per day throughout February.
Cases in the country at large, among the nomadic population – which represents around 30% of the population – have remained, like the people themselves, few and far between.
But the urban push has made vaccination an urgent priority. The rollout first began in Ulaanbaatar, which is home to around half of Mongolia’s population. The country’s approach has also bucked the global trend, prioritizing younger groups over the elderly and vulnerable, in a bid to control transmission and curb the outbreak.
And although Ms Enkhbat said there was no widespread anti-vaccination movement, confidence in the Chinese vaccine has been lower. This is especially true among the older generation, who grew up at a time when Mongolia and the Soviet Union were strong allies and wanted to wait for Sputnik V.
In a bid to encourage vaccinations, the government introduced a policy of paying 50,000 Mongolian Tugriks (MNT), or around £13, to people after their second shot – the average monthly wage in 2020 was around £320 .
And while Sinopharm is free for all, those under 65 have to pay around 120,000 MNT (£30) for Sputnik in a private hospital. Some sports facilities, such as gymnasiums and swimming pools, only allow fully vaccinated people.