Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa thanks China for donation of COVID-19 vaccine
Zimbabwe will receive 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine donated by China, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Thursday.
Mnangagwa revealed this in a televised address to the nation, his first since returning to work this week from his annual leave.
"Allow me to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt and sincere gratitude to the government and people of China for their kind donation of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine," Mnangagwa said.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced Monday that Zimbabwe will be among the first three African countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from China, alongside 11 other developing countries.
Mnangagwa applauded China for taking a leading role in contributing to Zimbabwe's national vaccine deployment strategy and for its consistent humane policy of treating COVID-19 vaccines as global public goods.
"This kind gesture is in addition to the numerous donations, support and interventions made by China since the outbreak of the virus," he said.
"It further attests to the fact that the People's Republic of China is indeed a true friend of Zimbabwe, whose relations have been enhanced to strategic partnership and cooperation," he said.
He said Zimbabwe's national response strategy had reached a stage where the country can now introduce vaccines as a second front preventative measure.
"As such, COVID-19 vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe, will soon be introduced. These will be state-funded and free," he said.
"The national vaccination strategy will continue to be guided by the best available scientific evidence, with the safety of all Zimbabweans remaining a priority," he said.
The Zimbabwean President said the initial objective is to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve population immunity.
Frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions will be prioritized in the first phase of the inoculation, he said.
He urged the nation to continue adhering to COVID-19 preventative and safety measures even after being inoculated.
Zimbabwe has been recording an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and deaths since the beginning of the year, as the nation grapples with a second wave of the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, the country had recorded 33,964 cases of COVID-19 and 1,269 deaths, while a total of 27,391 people have recovered from the virus. Enditem