Chinese vaccines gain acceptance far and wide

2021-03-31 12:04:41

  Hou Yanqi, China's ambassador to Nepal, presents a vaccine handover document to KP Sharma Oli, the country's prime minister, at his residence on Monday. SULAV SHRESTHA/XINHUA KATHMANDU, Nepal-An increasing number of countries recently rolled out or prepared to undertake mass vaccinations as they received jabs from China. A chartered flight of Nepal Airlines brought back the COVID-19 vaccines donated by China on Monday, giving a major boost for Nepal to continue its vaccination campaign against the pandemic. The jabs, made by Chinese company Sinopharm, arrived in Nepal at a time when the Himalayan country is struggling to get enough vaccines to continue its inoculation drive. Nepal started the vaccination campaign on Jan 27 and has so far vaccinated over 1.7 million people in two phases, said Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday lauded China's donation as well as its contribution to the world in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic after the vaccine batch arrived in the Himalayan country. "I would like to appreciate the steps taken by China and the works done by the government of China to fight against COVID-19," he said. "The policy of success that China has adopted is a lesson to other countries." Elsewhere, Palestine on Monday received a batch of Sinopharm vaccines donated by China to support its nationwide fight against the pandemic. Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila thanked the Chinese government and people for contributing to Palestine's vaccination campaign, noting the batch from China is the largest single donation of COVID-19 vaccines Palestine has received so far. "Palestine highly appreciates China's commitment to provide coronavirus vaccines as a global public good and its selfless assistance to Palestine and other developing countries with a responsible attitude and concrete measures," she said. Palestine approved China's Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use, the health ministry said. Also on Monday, the Philippines received the first batch of Sinovac vaccines its government bought from China. 'Timely and crucial' Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the vaccine arrival "is very timely and most crucial," especially when Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces are experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections. The Philippine government is ramping up vaccination efforts in Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces where most infections were detected. It aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity, starting with healthcare workers and the elderly. Two batches of the China-donated Sinovac vaccines had previously arrived in the Philippines in February, allowing the Southeast Asian country to kick off its vaccination drive on March 1. In Kyrgyzstan, the country kicked off its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Monday using China's Sinopharm jab. Beijing this month donated 150,000 doses of the two-shot jab to Kyrgyzstan, enough to vaccinate 75,000 people, or over one percent of the 6.5 million population. In Latin America, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou on Monday got his first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China's Sinovac company. The country received the vaccines on March 17. Speaking to reporters after getting vaccinated at the Maciel public hospital in Montevideo, Lacalle Pou thanked the "professionalism, humanism and disposition of the technical and medical teams, who are on the frontlines of vaccinating". The president had announced before the start of the vaccination campaign which began on March 1 that he would be vaccinated when it was the turn of his age group. Lacalle Pou acknowledged Uruguay is going through a "difficult "time, with an increase in COVID-19 cases "putting pressure on the last barrier, which are the ICUs". Liu Xuan in Beijing, Xinhua and agencies contributed to this story.