China has through its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) donated 100 000 more doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF).
The latest delivery was received by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and ZDF Commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda were at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday afternoon.
The consignment handed to Zimbabwean authorities by Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun, included 420 000 syringes.
Speaking after receiving the consignment, Minister Muchinguri said the donation will aid in Zimbabwe’s quest to achieve herd immunity. She said:
_The donation which comes at a time when the country’s vaccination programme has gathered momentum will go a long a way in aiding Government to achieve its target of vaccinating at least 60 percent of the population in order to achieve the required herd immunity._
The latest consignment is the third batch of vaccines donated by President Xi Jinping’s administration to Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe has also bought some vaccines from China.
So far, Zimbabwe has vaccinated over 500 000 people across the country and no reports of side effects have been publicly made.
There was a slow uptake when the vaccination programme commenced as members of the public were worried that the vaccines that have not been tried and tested for a sustained period of time could have serious side effects.
China has, however, admitted that its vaccines’ effectiveness is low compared to others, depending on the COVID-19 variant being addressed.
Health experts have detected several variants each demanding a different level of vaccine effectiveness. For instance, South Africa suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after it had been realised that the vaccine was not effective against the variant detected in that country.