Tajikistan’s coronavirus task force has ordered all citizens over the age of 18 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the Central Asian country's state media reported on July 3.
"Coronavirus vaccination is mandatory for citizens over 18 years," the task force said, according to the Khovar news agency.
It added that citizens should book an appointment with their doctor or their local clinic to receive a free vaccination. Until now, vaccination was optional in the country.
The task force said the mandatory vaccination order was to counter the spread of COVID-19 in Tajikistan.
It also called on citizens returning to Tajikistan from abroad and visitors to isolate for 10 days even if they test negative, Khovar reported.
In addition, it encouraged Tajiks to limit the size of weddings and other events to the fewest number of people, but it didn’t specify a number.
The statement came amid the rapid spread of a new strain of coronavirus in the country, though official statistics show the number of new cases remains low.
According to the Ministry of Health, 25 new cases of infection were detected on July 2 and two people died. The ministry said they were infected with a new coronavirus, but didn’t specifically say the delta variant, which is spreading elsewhere in the world, was to blame.
According to official data, since the beginning of the pandemic in Tajikistan, 13,548 people have fallen ill, and 92 people have died. Independent experts doubt the data is accurate, suggesting the true figures could be significantly higher.
The ministry said more than 280,000 people in the country had been vaccinated as of July 2.