Zimbabwe receives first batch of Covid-19 vaccines

Zimbabwe receives 200,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines

Zimbabwe receives 200,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines

A plane carrying Zimbabwe's first coronavirus vaccines, 200,000 doses donated by China, arrived in Harare on Monday.

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

"This is a timely donation given the recent tragedies and ravages that visited our country through COVID-19 pandemic", said Zimbabwe's Vice President Constantino Chiwenga - who doubles as the country's health minister.

Also on January 31, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said he is "open" to the use of vaccines from Russia or China in Germany, while Markus Soeder, minister-president of the German state of Bavaria, called on the European supervision body to test Russian and Chinese vaccines "as soon as possible".

The Sinopharm vaccine is approved in China for general public use and is also used in several other countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to China's top prosecuting agency, a man named Kong Mou was responsible for operating a gang that sold as many as 58,000 syringes that purportedly contained the COVID-19 vaccine, but in fact only contained saline solution.

Zimbabwe has since 2003 turned to China, and also Russian Federation, for assistance after falling out with Western countries that imposed sanctions in response to allegations of human rights abuses and vote-rigging by then-president Robert Mugabe, who lost power in 2017 and died in 2019.

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In another positive development, 31 States/UTs have reported Recovery Rate more than the national average. These are Sikkim, Meghalaya, A&N Islands, Nagaland, Tripura and D&D & D&N.

According to Reuters quoting UAE's health ministry, the Sinopharm vaccine has proven to be 86 percent effective in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease.

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

"Any vaccine is better than no vaccine", Sibanda said. "That's the bottom line".

African countries, financially weak and relying on vaccines developed elsewhere, have been slow to vaccinate their populations, and experts expect vaccines to start arriving on the continent in higher quantities later this year and next year.

"You will see the tempo changing even in terms of public communication, we will now be focusing on the vaccine roll-out. People will always have issues whether the vaccine works or doesn't work".

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

"The vaccination programme commences on February 18, 2021, on a voluntary basis, and will be free", the Harare government said in a statement after the cabinet meeting.

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