Vanuatu has officially received the 20,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine and 22,400 syringes from the Chinese Government Monday.
China’s Sinopharm was the second vaccine to arrive in Port Vila, a month after it was listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use.
Notwithstanding its limited production capacity and enormous demand back in China, the vaccines were sent in to reaffirm China’s commitment to supporting Vanuatu’s pandemic response and economic recovery, said Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, Zhou Haicheng.
“I believe this batch of vaccines will contribute to Vanuatu’s plan for completing the first vaccination rollout by the end of this year,” he said.
“Restoring economic growth remains the top priority for China and Vanuatu.
“Vanuatu has been one of the few COVID-19 free countries in the world, thanks to the strict measures the government has implemented.
“Now it is an opportune time for Vanuatu to rollout the vaccination program smoothly to protect the people and seize the initiative in restarting businesses activities in the circumstances of a new normal.
“China will always stand firm by Vanuatu’s side through all challenges, work with global partners to help roll out the vaccination program, and improve Vanuatu’s health system in a bid to enhance preparedness and capacity for coping with major public health emergencies. “
Prime Minister Bob Loughman, said the arrival of Sinopharm vaccine was a result of the comprehensive strategic partnership and bilateral relationships between Vanuatu and China.
“As the PM of Vanuatu, I want to express on behalf of my government and people of Vanuatu our sincere appreciation to the government of China for its ongoing support and generous assistance to Vanuatu in this difficult time.”
With the recent arrival of Sinopharm vaccine yesterday early morning, Vanuatu now has 44,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Over 1,000 health workers and frontline workers have been vaccinated as of last Friday.
Of the entire Vanuatu’s population, the Ministry of Health is anticipating a vaccination target of 166,500 eligible population, which is 18 years and above.
The end goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible so that many people are protected. 20% of the 166,500 prioritised in the first phase is around 33,000.
PM Loughman announced that the government has already placed a second order for vaccine through the COVAX Facility and this is expected in two months’ time.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Infrastructure, Air Vanuatu and relevant Chinese companies are acknowledged for co-organising the chartered flight that brought in the Sinopharm vaccine while the Australian High Commission is commended for facilitating the flight operation…..PACNEWS