• Border regions should take priority in pandemic management for vaccine deployment • Public health measures remain as important as vaccine distribution in the country • Nearly 75% hospitalization decreased due to one border region enhanced vaccination Among the challenges imposed by COVID-19 to public health systems was vaccine scarcity and prioritizing the high-risk groups. This prompted countries to accelerate the pace of immunization campaigns against COVID-19 to deploy the immunization umbrella to the largest possible number of target groups. In this paper, we share Oman's perspective on the impact of accelerating the administration of the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in one border governorate, Musandam, compared to another, Al-Buraimi, where measures were not implemented. Daily admission data (10 April 2020–24 June 2021) and vaccination data (1 January–24 June 2021) were systematically collected. For each governorate, cumulative doses (first and second doses) and vaccination coverage were calculated daily. Within one month, first dose vaccination coverage increased from 20%–58% in Musandam reducing the incidence of hospital admission by 75% compared to Al-Buraimi where vaccination coverage plateaued at 20% and the incidence of hospital admission increased by 500% . Given the peculiarity of geographical location and being the first line of access for imported cases, border regions should have priority for vaccine deployment as a preventive measure. Our two different approaches, implemented in broadly similar cross-border governorates, provided evidence of the significant effect of accelerating the first dose of vaccine in reducing hospitalization.
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