LIMA－Peru's President Pedro Castillo has expressed confidence in China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine after receiving his dose.
Castillo spoke to reporters after receiving the first shot of the multidose vaccine on Friday at a vaccination center, as a part of the country's vaccination campaign. "I came to be vaccinated with this vaccine, made by Sinopharm, because I have faith, not just in this vaccine, but in all vaccines."
He called on the public to follow suit and "prioritize this right to health", adding that the vaccine reduces the chance of ending up in intensive care units should one be infected.
Peru's Health Minister Hernando Cevallos and the president's wife Lilia Paredes received their first doses along with the president.
Peru launched its national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in February, with frontline health workers given priority for the jabs.
The health ministry recently reported a 98-percent drop in the mortality rate among fully vaccinated doctors.
On Saturday a batch of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Zambia to be part of the country's basket of COVID-19 vaccines.
As an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft carrying the vaccine arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, China's Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie and Zambian officials as well as UN officials were on hand to witness the arrival of the doses.
The donation was another important token of the strong friendship of the two governments and peoples in fighting the pandemic, Li said.
China has recently announced that it will strive to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world this year and offer $100 million to the COVAX delivery initiative. Those funds will mainly be spent on distributing vaccines to developing countries.
In reacting to the announcement, Kennedy Malama, permanent secretary in charge of technical services in the Ministry of Health, said it will ensure vaccine availability for countries with fewer resources.
It will also result in ensuring equity in the distribution of vaccines to countries most in need, he said.
Nathan Bakyaita, World Health Organization Representative to Zambia, said the gesture is commendable because the economies of most developing countries have been badly hit by the pandemic.
The COVAX Facility was established to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, he said, adding that China's move will go a long way in realizing the goal.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Coumba Mar Gadio, said China's move is timely as more countries ramp up their vaccination programs and need more vaccines.
Late on Saturday the fifth batch of China-donated Sinopharm doses carried by a Chinese YTO Airlines cargo plane arrived in the Lao capital, Vientiane.
The country's Health Minister, Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, and the Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese embassy in Vientiane, Zhao Wenyu, received the donation at the airport.
COVID-19 continues to surge in the world. Globally there were more than 202 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Xinhua - Agencies