Opinion & Columnist

Herd immunity is solution to Covid-19

Lovemore Hungwe
Correspondent
On March 16, the second batch of Covid-19 vaccines donated by China arrived at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

The handover ceremony which took place at the airport was attended by President Mnangagwa, together with Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa expressed his gratitude to China for its offer of Covid-19 vaccines. He said: “These vaccines are certainly providing a new light of positivity for the people of Zimbabwe in these tough times, (vaccines) which have been donated by the Chinese government and its people. A light at the end of a dark tunnel. We are most grateful for this lifesaving gesture.”

These emotional comments were widely reported by Chinese Media.

China’s assistance and provision of vaccines to African countries including Zimbabwe is a vivid demonstration of China-Africa traditional friendship, and a concrete step to implement President Xi Jinping’s pledge of making vaccines a global public good.

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China is a committed front-runner in promoting international vaccine cooperation. It has carried out vaccine R&D and production cooperation with a dozen or so countries, attracting more than 100 000 volunteers of over 100 nationalities.

Altogether, 17 Chinese vaccines have entered clinical trials. More than 60 countries have authorised the use of Chinese vaccines. The safety and effectiveness of these vaccines are earning recognition across the world. China is prepared to discuss with other countries the feasibility and protocols for mutual recognition of vaccination.

China is also a steadfast advocate for equitable vaccine distribution. It has joined COVAX, under which it has provided 10 million doses for emergency use in developing countries. So far, China has donated Covid-19 vaccines to 69 developing countries in urgent need, and is exporting vaccines to 43 countries.

Responding to a UN appeal, it has donated vaccines to peacekeepers from various countries. It is ready to work with the International Olympic Committee to provide vaccines to Olympians. Chinese vaccines will inject more confidence and hope into the global fight against the virus.

Vaccines are a powerful weapon against the virus and bring hope for saving lives. They should serve the entire world and benefit all humanity. China is a firm believer in making Covid-19 vaccines a public good.

China was among the first to pledge that its vaccines, when available, will be made a global public good, and it has worked in real earnest to improve vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. That’s what China has been saying and what the great country has been doing.

A number of vaccines are now available around the world. It is up to each country to decide which one to choose. Whether it is a Chinese vaccine or not, it is a good vaccine so long as it is safe and effective. At present, the global epidemic is still not over.

The global fight against Covid-19 must not stop until the virus gets eliminated in each and every country. China opposes “vaccine nationalism”. It strongly rejects any “vaccine divide” or any attempt to politicise vaccine cooperation.

The world is facing many challenges, and the international community’s common aspiration is to make it better rather than worse, more peaceful rather than turbulent, and more united rather than divided.

No matter what kind of dialogue and cooperation the relevant countries will have, it is hoped that they can bear in mind that humanity longs for solidarity, not division. All the countries should work together to deal with the pandemic and other urgent challenges.

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Though there are some rumours about Chinese vaccine, it should be stressed that the Chinese government has always taken a responsible attitude towards life, given top priority to vaccine safety and effectiveness, and guided Chinese enterprises to conduct vaccine research and development in strict accordance with scientific laws and regulatory requirements.

Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine has been vaccinated more than hundreds of millions doses, but has not received the serious adverse reaction report till now. The company monitors the reaction mainly local reaction, mainly just inoculation site pain. Systemic reactions mainly include headache, myalgia and fever.

Many countries around the world have recognised the safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines. And dozens of countries have approved the use of Chinese vaccines, which affirms the quality of China’s vaccines.

More than10 heads of state or government have received the Chinese jabs. On February 27, the Hungarian President Janos Ader received an injection of China’s Sinopharm vaccine against Covid-19. Vice-President Chiwenga who is also Health Minister got vaccinated with Chinese vaccine not long ago.

President Mnangagwa also said he would very soon receive the jab immediately after the arrival of the new batch of vaccines. All these cast their vote of confidence in Chinese vaccines with their actions.

With Chinese vaccines continuously arriving in African countries, many people are inoculated. More and more people will overcome the vaccine hesitancy and get vaccinated. Only in this way can Zimbabwe achieve herd immunity and life and economy will come back to normalcy.

HERALD