Zimbabwe receives first Covid-19 vaccines, reveals 'first stage' beneficiaries

More countries turn to Chinese COVID-19 vaccines

The vaccines were received at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice President and Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga and Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun at a ceremony that was also attended by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, Health and Child Care Minister Dr John Mangwiro and Local Government and Public Works counterpart, Dr Marian Chombo. "We receive this vaccine as a glimmer of hope to the nation that finally we may be on the verge of returning to some semblance of normalcy, that our people turn a new page".

It is unclear how much cash-strapped Zimbabwe will pay for the second batch of the vaccines from China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

In addition to Pakistan, China is providing COVID-19 vaccines to 13 developing countries including Brunei, Nepal, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and Palestine in Asia.

On Twitter, Zimbabwe's embassy in China posted a video of the vaccines being loaded into a state-owned Air Zimbabwe plane in China, touting it as an example of the Asian country's "friendship" with developing countries.

"I am not a scientist, so I do not make unprofessional comments".

VP Chiwenga said the Chinese donation marked the beginning of vaccination programme targeting 10 million people.

A growing number of countries across the world have turned to Chinese COVID-19 vaccines as Western vaccine makers' production and delivery hiccups hamper the fight against the pandemic in many countries. "That's the bottom line".

China has arrested the leader of a gang that made almost $3 million from selling shots of water disguised as COVID-19 vaccines, according to state-run media.

"You will see the tempo changing even in terms of public communication, we will now be focusing on the vaccine roll-out".

Other doses of the vaccine were allegedly administered directly by the alleged criminal syndicate, which reportedly set up fake vaccination clinics and charged people a cash fee for vaccination or shipped them to "village doctors", who ran vaccination programs in remote locations.

A shipment of Sinopharm vaccines will arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina soon too, as one of its two entities, Republika Srpska (RS), ordered them on February 8, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of RS Alen Seranic told Xinhua.

Zimbabwe's government said the Sinopharm vaccine has an efficacy rate of between 76 and 86 percent.



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