Chinese COVID-19 vaccines boost Ethiopia’s inoculation drive

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A handover ceremony for Chinese-donated COVID-19 vaccines is held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Oct 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]
A handover ceremony for Chinese-donated COVID-19 vaccines is held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on October 24, 2021. /Xinhua

The latest batch of Chinese-donated Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, totaling 800,000 doses, arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Sunday, giving a boost to the East African nation’s vaccination efforts.

China has so far donated in excess of 1.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Ethiopia, which the Ethiopian government said has played an important role in combating the virus.

The handover ceremony for the donated vaccines was attended by senior Ethiopian government officials and members of the Chinese diplomatic community in the Ethiopian capital.

Speaking to Xinhua on Sunday, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Lia Tadesse said the Chinese-donated vaccines have proved effective as data shows that vaccinated people are less vulnerable to COVID-19 than the unvaccinated ones.

“For us as a country, specific effectiveness data is still to be done, but we have seen that those people who are dying in health facilities are those who are not vaccinated,” Tadesse said.

“This gives us enough evidence that we need to take the vaccines that are made available. We would like to assure that these are the vaccines that can prevent the disease, but also primarily prevent severe disease and death if even infected,” the Ethiopian health minister said.

Zhao Zhiyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the Chinese government-donated vaccines are playing a crucial role in Ethiopia’s efforts in combating COVID-19, restoring the economy from the impact of the pandemic, and protecting people’s health.

“China will do its best to continue with vaccine assistance to Ethiopia and promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in public health sectors,” Zhao said after handing over the vaccines to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has so far administered a total of 4,286,768 doses to 3,211,211 people, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached 362,088 as the death toll from the pandemic reached 6,347 as of Saturday evening.

Chinese-donated vaccines, as one of the most administered COVID-19 vaccines in the country, are also gaining growing interest among Ethiopians.

Maereg Bezabih, a medical nurse who is engaged in administering COVID-19 vaccines in a local health center in Addis Ababa, said some people specifically prefer the Chinese vaccines for various reasons.

As part of its commitment to make its vaccines a global public good, China is presently playing a crucial role in terms of vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, including Ethiopia.

China will strive to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world throughout this year and offer 100 million U.S. dollars to COVAX. The 100 million U.S. dollars to COVAX will mainly go to the distribution of vaccines to developing countries.

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