Zimbabwe receives first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from China

A batch of Covid-19 vaccines donated by China arrived in Robert Mugabe International Airport in Zimbabwe’s capital here.

The 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines are the first batch that Zimbabwe has received as it steps up efforts to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The vaccines will cover all frontline health workers firstly, and the excess will be extended to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, according to Zimbabwe’s vaccine deployment strategy.

Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, together with Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun, attended the handover ceremony at the airport.

Chiwenga, who is also the health minister, expressed gratitude to China for donating Covid-19 vaccines to the southern African country, saying the batch of vaccines is a timely donation as Zimbabweans are suffering from the pandemic.

Guo, for his part, said the donation represents the essence of the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation and the profound friendship between China and Zimbabwe.

In an interview with Xinhua on Friday, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa also expressed his gratitude to China for its offer of Covid-19 vaccines, saying the donation is a testament to the long-standing friendship between the peoples of Zimbabwe and China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on February 8 announced that China is providing vaccine aid to 53 developing countries.

Zimbabwe is among the first three African countries to receive the Covid-19 vaccines from China, as Equatorial Guinea has received its vaccines on Wednesday, while Sierra Leone is expecting vaccines from the Asian country later in February.

Zimbabwe has already finalized a vaccine deployment strategy that would see at least 10 million people, or about 60 per cent of the population, being inoculated.