Turkmenistan announced Wednesday it was introducing mandatory vaccinations for all adults even though the secretive Central Asian country claims to have registered no coronavirus cases.
The state mouthpiece, the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper, said that all citizens aged over 18 “should be vaccinated”. Those with medical contraindications will be exempted from inoculations, the newspaper said, citing the health ministry.
“To make preventive vaccinations effective, each of us should actively participate in this process,” the health ministry said.
Turkmenistan is one of the few countries, along with North Korea, yet to declare a single case of the coronavirus.
The isolated Central Asian country has approved two Russian and two Chinese vaccines.
Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said in an interview published in early June that “thanks to work (we) have carried out”, Turkmenistan has “yet to discover a case of this disease”.
While Turkmenistan has no local independent media, foreign-based media have regularly cast doubt on the coronavirus-free claim.
A Turkish diplomat stationed in Turkmenistan was reported as dying from the disease last year and the UK’s ambassador admitted on social media in December that he had contracted the coronavirus while in the country.
Last weekend, another Central Asian country, Tajikistan, made vaccines mandatory for citizens aged 18 and older.