COVID-19 Global Roundup: More nations embrace Chinese vaccines
Updated 23:43, 04-Mar-2021

A growing number of countries across the world have turned to Chinese COVID-19 vaccines as Western vaccine makers' production and delivery hiccups hamper the fight against the pandemic in many countries.

In response to the UN Global Vaccine Resolution, China has decided to provide 10 million doses of domestic vaccines to the COVAX to meet the urgent needs of developing countries, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced during a regular press conference on Tuesday.

Chinese vaccines have arrived in many countries, including Iraq, Guyana, Mongolia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Bolivia, to name a few only. And they're not stopping just yet. As followed are some of the countries that have received Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in the past two weeks.

Sinovac's vaccine gets conditional approval in Malaysia

Malaysia has granted conditional approval for the use of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, the health ministry said on March 2.

The approval of the conditional registration would allow the vaccines to be used during an emergency, Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.

Malaysia took its first delivery of Sinovac's vaccines in bulk last week. The delivered vaccines will go through a "fill and finish" by Sinovac's Malaysia partner Pharmaniaga, which Noor Hisham said Malaysia's regulators are evaluating separately.

Besides the vaccine from the Chinese manufacturer, Malaysia on that day also granted conditional approval for the COVID-19 vaccine from the AstraZeneca/Oxford consortium. Previously, Malaysia approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

According to the government's plan, Malaysia's vaccination program will be conducted in three phases and the whole exercise is expected to be completed by February next year, covering at least 80 percent of the country's population. 

The Philippines starts rollout of China's Sinovac vaccines

Health workers wait on the first day of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Manila, the Philippines, March 1, 2021. /Xinhua

Health workers wait on the first day of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Manila, the Philippines, March 1, 2021. /Xinhua

The Philippines launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on March 1, less than a day after the arrival of the Sinovac vaccine CoronaVac donated by China.

Simultaneous vaccination took place in hospitals in Metro Manila on that morning. The Philippines' Department of Health said the Sinovac vaccines "will also be rolled out in other parts of the country in the coming days."

The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million people this year to achieve herd immunity, starting with health care workers, the elderly, and the poor communities. The Philippines has an about 110-million population.

The Philippines is negotiating to buy over 160 million vaccine doses from different pharmaceutical firms this year, including Sinovac, said Carlito Galvez, the official in charge of the vaccine procurement.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte received the Sinovac vaccines that arrived in the Philippines on February 28, saying that "the efficacy is good."

Mongolia receives vaccine donation from China

Mongolia on March 1 received 300,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China. The vaccine donation was welcomed at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Mongolia's capital city of Ulan Bator by Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister Sainbuyan Amarsaikhan and Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Chai Wenrui.

"On behalf of the Mongolian government and people, I would like to express my deep gratitude to China, our friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner, for extending its helping hand during this difficult time," said Amarsaikhan.

The Chinese ambassador expressed confidence that these vaccines will contribute to the protection of people's lives and the fight against the pandemic in Mongolia.

Mongolia is planning to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its 3.3 million people, or all adults in the country, against the coronavirus, with 20 percent of them to be vaccinated under COVAX, a global initiative to ensure quick and equal access to vaccines against the virus, according to the country's health ministry.

Uzbekistan certifies Chinese vaccines

Uzbekistan has certified a COVID-19 vaccine produced by a Chinese company, the Ministry of Innovative Development said on March 1.

The vaccine produced by China's Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co., Ltd, will be marketed in the Central Asian nation under the name of ZF-UZ-VAC2001, the ministry said.

Thanks to active participation of the country in trials of this vaccine, as well as their contribution to clinical research, Uzbekistan has registered it for emergency use and marketing authorization.

Uzbekistan has started the phase-3 trial of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese company since December last year. So far, Uzbekistan has registered 79,961 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 622 related deaths.

Thailand starts to roll out Chinese COVID-19 vaccination


Thailand on February 28 started its COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, with the first shot, using China's Sinovac vaccine, going to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the event at the country's infectious disease institute, where other officials, including deputy public health minister, agriculture minister, culture minister and deputy education minister, were also vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.

"It's a historic day and a day to help the country rebuild confidence against the pandemic," Prayut told Xinhua after all the recipients of the vaccine ended their 30-minute observation period and had shown no adverse reaction.

The rollout came days after Thailand received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac, which were then distributed to 13 provinces, including the capital Bangkok. The second batch of Sinovac vaccine will arrive Thailand in March, followed by another batch in April.

Hungarian president receives injection of Chinese vaccine


Hungarian President Janos Ader received an injection of China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 on February 26, Hungarian news agency Magyar Tavirati Iroda (MTI) reported.

In a short message aired by Hungarian public television M1, Ader called on all Hungarians to register for the vaccination as soon as possible, saying that "anyone who gets the chance to receive the first and then the second vaccine with any product approved by the Hungarian authorities and Hungarian experts should do so." 

Hungary currently has stocks of vaccines from five producers, including China's Sinopharm. The first shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Budapest on February 16. Hungary has started to administer the Sinopharm vaccine on Febrary 24.

As of Friday, 521,283 people had received at least the first shot of a vaccine, while 240,622 had two jabs, according to the government's coronavirus information website.

Belarus receives vaccines donated by China


The COVID-19 vaccine aid provided to Belarus by the Chinese government has arrived in Belarus on February 19.

At a handover ceremony of the vaccines at the airport on that day, Belarusian Health Minister Dmitry Pinevich expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for providing such valuable vaccines.

China has provided the vaccines in support of the important consensus reached during a recent telephone conversation between the heads of state of the two countries, and the gesture proves once again that the comprehensive strategic partnership between Belarus and China can stand the test of hardships, Pinevich said.

Chinese Ambassador to Belarus Xie Xiaoyong said that China is offering this assistance to express the friendly feelings of the government and people of China towards the government and people of Belarus.

Guyana gets first batch of China-donated vaccine doses

Guyana on March 2 received a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government to help the country combat the pandemic.

Guyana's Minister of Health Frank Anthony conveyed gratitude to the Chinese people and the government on behalf of Guyanese President Irfaan Ali, the Guyanese government and people saying that it is the first time that Guyana has received COVID-19 vaccines directly donated by a foreign government, which arrived on time and will be immediately used to inoculate frontline health workers.

China has been supporting Guyana since the outbreak and the donation this time is another example of cooperation between the two countries in jointly combatting the pandemic, he added.

Guyana has granted emergency use approval of China's Sinopharm and Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines in the country. Guyana has started the first phase of its national vaccination campaign, mainly targeting frontline medics.

As of the day, Guyana has recorded 8,626 confirmed coronavirus cases and 197 deaths, the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University showed.

Brazilian experts highlight the importance of Chinese vaccine 

The CoronaVac vaccine, developed by Chinese company Biotech Ltd., has already been used in Brazil for over a month now and has been widely praised by Brazilian experts, who generally consider it to be safe, effective and helpful for Brazil to mitigate and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Xinhua's report on February 25.

On January 7 this year, the Brazilian federal government announced that it has signed a deal with the Butantan Institute to acquire 100 million doses of CoronaVac.

On January 17, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency authorized the emergency use of CoronaVac. Several people in Sao Paulo state were vaccinated with CoronaVac the same day to become first ones in Brazil to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

On January 18, doses of CoronaVac were distributed to other states from Sao Paulo state, initiating the mass vaccination in Brazil.

Chile receives third shipment of Chinese vaccines 


Chile on February 25 received another shipment of anti-COVID-19 CoronaVac vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, following two earlier batches that arrived on January 28 and January 31.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, accompanied by his health and science ministers, was on hand to receive the vaccines at the airport in the capital Santiago. "From now on we can continue the vaccination process on a solid and safe ground, which will allow us to continue advancing in this mass vaccination," said Pinera.

Chile's Institute of Public Health approved the emergency use of the CoronaVac vaccine on January 20, based on the recommendations of a committee of experts who had convened to evaluate vaccines. The country's mass vaccination campaign was launched on February 3 and has to date inoculated 3,211,179 people.

This latest shipment will help bring the country closer to the objective of vaccinating the country's entire high-risk population of about 5 million people in the first three months of the year, and further vaccinating the entire target population of around 15 million people in the first half of the year, Pinera said.

Iraq receives donated vaccines from China

Iraq on March 2 received a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government to help the country combat the pandemic.

Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi hailed China's donation of Sinopharm vaccines to Iraq, saying that "we extend our thanks and appreciation to the government and people of the People's Republic of China for this initiative."

Al-Tamimi said sending the batch of COVID-19 vaccines is "a message from the friendly Chinese people to the Iraqi people, as China was the first country to send aid, equipment and a medical team to Iraq."

"The Chinese side will continue to make joint efforts hand in hand with the Iraqi side to continuously strengthen the Sino-Iraqi strategic partnership and deepening bilateral cooperation in various fields," Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao said at a handover ceremony of the vaccines in Baghdad.

The Iraqi National Board for Selection of Drugs has approved the emergency use of China's Sinopharm and Britain's AstraZeneca vaccines to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Chinese vaccines help African countries

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Hu Zhangliang (R) attends a handover ceremony of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China at an airport in Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 25, 2021. /Xinhua

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Hu Zhangliang (R) attends a handover ceremony of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China at an airport in Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 25, 2021. /Xinhua

China will provide COVID-19 vaccines to 19 African countries in need to help them fight the pandemic, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on March 1.

China has donated vaccines to Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea as of February, and will continue to offer aid within its abilities to help Africa win the battle against the pandemic, Wang said.

China also supports companies exporting vaccines to African countries that are in urgent need and have approved Chinese vaccines, he said.

Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio on March 1 received a batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by China on February 25.

Expressing appreciation to the Chinese government, Bio said China is the first country to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Sierra Leone. "A friend in need is a friend indeed," said the president.

Sierra Leone on February 25 received a consignment of 200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China to support the country's vaccination campaign.

Health authorities in Sierra Leone said the vaccine will "play an important role in preventing and containing the COVID-19 in the country." According to the authorities, the vaccine comes at a time when the Sierra Leone government is planning to vaccinate about 1.6 million vulnerable people.

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