Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The 200 000 Covid19 vaccine doses donated by the People’s Republic of China arrived in the country aboard an Air Zimbabwe charter flight this morning.
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.
“This is a timely donation given the recent ravages and tragedies that visited our nation through Covid19 pandemic,” VP Chiwenga said.
“You have been here and you have seen how our people have suffered from this pandemic. We receive this vaccine as a dream of hope to the nation that finally we maybe on the verge of returning to some semblance of normalcy that is what we are aiming to achieve.
“The vaccine also offers the possibility that our people who have borne the brunt of the economic ravages of the pandemic might finally turn a new page following the unfortunate interruptions to the economic activities that have been necessitated by the need to control the virus.”
He said Government had reverted to the level 4 lockdown as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease and hailed the Chinese government’s assistance to Zimbabwe.
He said it would have been easy for China to direct its efforts in vaccinating its own population and said the country had played a big role on the international stage in curbing the spread of the disease.
“It has not been lost to us that in our times of need China’s response has been swift resulting in this vaccine being the first to reach our country,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said the Chinese donation marked the beginning of vaccination programme targeting 10 million people. Ambassador Guo said the donation was part of its assistance it has rendered to Zimbabwe in various sectors. He said China and Zimbabwe had longstanding relations adding the donation was testimony of that relationship.
“This is a major assistance programme in Zimbabwe from China and we are also discussing the procurement of the Covid19 vaccine with Zimbabwe and we will ensure the affordability for Zimbabwe and this is the promise of the Chinese President and I think in the future we will see more successful cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
The Chinese ambassador said although his country was facing its own challenges in vaccinating its 1,4 billion people population it would ensure the availability and accessibility of its vaccines to the whole world. He said China had so far donated vaccines to 58 countries while it was negotiating procurement deals with 22 others.