A sizeable shipment of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccines has arrived in Antigua and Barbuda.
Officials gathered at the VC Bird International airport to be on hand for the arrival of a special flight that ferried 20-thousand doses of the vaccine to the country.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who was among dignitaries at the airport, hailed the arrival of the vaccines, a gift from the Chinese government, as tangible demonstration of the bilateral relations that exist between his country, the People’s Republic of China and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
China’s donation of the SinoVac vaccines was a collaborative effort that included air transportation provided by the Venezuelan Government.
The Head of Government said the two friendly nations have stood shoulder to shoulder with Antigua and Barbuda when wealthy nations find excuses for not pledging their support.
He recalled that both China and Venezuela have a history of coming to Antigua and Barbuda’s aid in times of crisis.
“In the case of China and Venezuela, they have not utilized artificial impediments to deny countries such as Antigua and Barbuda much needed assistance,” PM Browne noted.
Describing China as a leader, PM Browne stated that the global giant’s vision and generosity in vaccine donations has led to wealthy nations taking notice and are following suit.
On the global front, the Prime Minister believes there can be greater collaboration with China in the interest of international development.
On the national front, the Prime Minister reminded that for the economy to return to normal, rests largely on citizens and residents becoming vaccinated.
“Individuals who boasts that they love their country and are loyal to their country and who are not vaccinated are clearly putting themselves, their family members and the country at a risk. We should be moving quickly to protect livelihoods as Antigua and Barbuda has been, easily, one of the most heavily affected countries as a result of the economic impact of COVID; and if we are to get back to normality anytime soon, we have to get as many people as possible vaccinated – and soon,” he emphasized.
For his part, Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph also stressed the importance of the population being inoculated against the COVID-19 virus. He maintains it is only through vaccination that the country will rid itself of the virus.
The World Health Organization in May approved the SinoVac for emergency use. It is said to have an efficacy rate of 100% for preventing hospitalization.
This latest batch of vaccines will be added to the Oxford AstraZeneca currently in stock, and which was obtained under the WHO CoVax arrangement.