By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Sierra Leonean government has today received a donation from the Chinese government of its first ever vaccine of 200,000 doses of the Sino Pharm COVID-19 Vaccine and 201,600 pieces of disposable needles and syringes which was brought in a chartered flight at the country’s Lungi international.
The donation according to the Sierra Leonean government ‘’reflect the long term traditional friendship and deep mutual trust between the two countries’’ adding that the vaccines would play an important role in Sierra Leone’s drive to prevent and contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic in the country.
Handing over the consignment, the Ambassador of China in Sierra Leone, Mr. Hu Zhangliang, said that the relationship between China and Sierra Leone has been in existence for over 45 years.
He said that the first batch of vaccine is to help boost the government of Sierra Leone in the fight against COVID-19 stating that currently people all over the world are striving to get the vaccine and that their support is by no means meet the high demand across the board at the moment.
“I strongly believe this donation will help the country fastly succeed in fighting against Covid 19 and contribute to the final victory of the final fight. H.E. President Xi Jinping has solemnly made it clear that China will contribute to the realization of the availability and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries. China walks the talk. At the request of the WHO, China decided to provide 10 million doses of Chinese vaccines to the COVAX with a view to meeting the urgent needs of developing countries. China has also provided vaccine assistance to other friendly countries,’’ he said.
The Chinese Ambassador in Sierra Leone added that the fight against the pandemic is a relay race to save lives together rather than a zero-sum game. It is important for the International Community to join hands in rejecting vaccine nationalism, addressing vaccine deficits, bridging the “immunization gap”, and promoting fair and reasonable deployment of vaccines. All countries should come together and respond with solidarity and coordination like never before.
Spokesperson for the Covid-19 Response in the country, Solomon Jamiru Esq, thanked the Chinese government for their timely support during the outbreak of the corona virus, adding that the strong bilateral ties between China and Sierra Leone have existed for a long time. He said the donation reflects the long term diplomatic friendship and deep mutual trust.
“Indeed the Republic of Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China are celebrating a wonderful 50 years of diplomatic relations. I must establish the importance for our people to understand that the relationship between China and Sierra Leone has been special and cordial and will continue to involve from peace to peace, good health to health and prosperity. We are receiving this consignment from the people’s Republic of China on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this special relationship,” he said.
He said the Sierra Leone has now realized that China is a true friend, he this has is shown at a time the country is country is fighting a pandemic war. He expressed gratitude to Ambassador Hu for his kind of gesture.
“The Ministry of Health and Sanitation’s Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI) is working with partners to finalize vaccine roll-out plans adding that these plans will aim to offer the vaccine to those at highest risk from getting seriously sick and dying from COVID-19 as early as possible and once everything is in place (including cold-chain distribution, training of healthcare workers etc.)’’
“Once plans are finalized the specific timelines and first groups to be vaccinated will be communicated to the general public, including on this page. Keep up the great work, and stay safe,’’ the government said.
Sierra Leone has so far recorded a total confirmed cases of the virus of 3,880 as of Wednesday and a total deaths of 79 with recoveries of 2,612 so far according to the Government‘s daily covid-19 update in the country.