More countries turn to China amid scramble for COVID-19 vaccine

A growing number of countries from across the globe are turning their eyes to China for covid-19 vaccines. The situation has been necessitated by delivery hiccups and emerging challenges while sourcing for the vaccines especially from Western countries.  

This coming as the Chinese Foreign Ministry disclosed that the East Asian Country was going to provide vaccines to countries in need.

“We will continue to work with other parties to promote equitable distribution of vaccines around the world and join hands with all countries to fight the pandemic,” Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian noted recently during Thursday’s press briefings.

So far, China has given a green light for the use of three of its locally manufactured vaccines namely; Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino. The demand for these vaccines has been increasing in the last couple of weeks, heightening their rollout in a number of countries.

In South America, the Bolivian government rolled out immunization of its citizens, underscoring the region’s reliance on Beijing for both the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.

Bolivia has recently experienced a deadly surge in COVID-19 infections, leaving corpses piling up amid overwhelmed funeral homes and cemeteries. A country of about 11.5 million people, Bolivia has reported more than 11,600 COVID-19 related deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

Soon, consignments of the Chinese-manufactured vaccines would make their way to Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Dominica and now Argentina.

These countries had faced difficulties securing vaccine supplies amid fears they would be left behind in the global scramble for vaccines.

A replica situation has been seen in Asia. When a plane carrying Thailand’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from China landed at an airport here on Wednesday, people cheered and applauded.

“Thank you to the People’s Republic of China for delivering the first batch of vaccines this month and the following batches in the subsequent months,” said Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, when he welcomed the vaccines’ arrival at the airport.

Thailand is heavily reliant on tourism but it recently has seen a drop in tourism due to COVID-19. The entry of COVID-19 vaccines is widely expected to transform the country’s economic fortunes.

This coming as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, where COVID-19 has claimed more than 50,000 lives underscored their trust in China as they have ordered, received or approved the emergency use of Chinese vaccines.

Among the biggest takers of the Chinese vaccines is Indonesia, which has ordered a large number of doses of the Sinovac vaccine.

“We should ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness. That’s the first one. Then the second one is, of course, they have to be listed in the WHO (World Health Organization) recommendation,” said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the Indonesian government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccination.

Malaysia too has received its first delivery of China’s Sinovac vaccine, days after the country kicked off its inoculation program, which aims to inoculate at least 80 percent of the country’s total population.

“Viruses do not respect borders and only by cooperating in the spirit of solidarity can the international community overcome the pandemic,” said Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing.

Shipments of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac have also landed in the Philippines. A plane carrying 600,000 vaccine doses donated by Beijing landed at a Philippine airbase in Manila last week.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed the arrival of the vaccines and said that there is a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

First shipment of Chinese covid-19 vaccines arrives in Iran

The first batch of China’s Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 arrived in Iran on Sunday.

A Mahan Air flight carrying 250,000 vaccine doses landed in Tehran in the morning hours. Iran approved imports of the vaccine made by China’s state-owned company earlier this week.

In the meantime, China has pledged to deliver 400,000 doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine to Afghanistan, Afghan officials said on Monday, in a boost for its immunization campaign.

So far just over 12,000 health workers have received the vaccine in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

The vaccination of members of the security forces has also begun. Afghanistan has registered 55,733 infections and 2,444 deaths. But experts say cases are significantly under-reported due to low testing and limited access to medical facilities in the war-torn country.


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