On Saturday, the government of Tajikistan, a republic in Central Asia, made coronavirus vaccination mandatory for all people over the age of 18. This was announced by the state news agency Khovar. All Tajiks of age not yet vaccinated will need to make an appointment to do so. Until now, no other country in the world had forced its citizens to get vaccinated. However, it is not clear how the government will make sure they do so.
The decision came at the same time as an increase in coronavirus infections in the country. The Ministry of Health said that 25 new cases were registered on July 2 and that two people died from COVID-19: the ministry also said that these people had been infected with a new variant of the coronavirus, without specifying whether it was the delta variant, which is spreading around the world.
There are 9.6 million inhabitants of Tajikistan and currently less than 0.2 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. As of July 2, more than 280,000 people had been vaccinated with at least the first dose in the country, according to the health ministry. According to official government data, considered unreliable abroad, since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 13,548 cases of contagion in Tajikistan and 92 people have died; the real numbers are likely to be much higher.