First batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine handed over to Zimbabwe

Russia's Sputnik V

PRETORIA, /TASS/. An official ceremony of handing over the first batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Zimbabwe was held in Harare in the presence of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on June 11, Russia’s embassy in the South African country told TASS on Friday.

While accepting the batch of the Sputnik V jab, Mnangagwa expressed his deep gratitude to Russia, the diplomatic mission said. The vaccine’s purchase and delivery were financed by the world’s largest diamond mining company Alrosa based in Russia. The vaccine was supplied as part of Russia’s assistance to Zimbabwe in the anti-coronavirus fight.

“This gesture of goodwill corresponds to the Russian-Zimbabwean accords at the highest level and is consistent with the decisions by the inter-governmental commission for economic, trade, scientific and technical cooperation and testifies to Moscow’s commitment to further building up a mutually advantageous partnership based on the principles of solidarity and mutual support in the most difficult times, which are inherent in the Russia-Zimbabwe relations,” the embassy said in a statement on its website.

“The work by the Alrosa Zimbabwe venture unfolding in Zimbabwe is a vivid example of the consistent development of bilateral cooperation in natural resources extraction. The enterprise that was set up in December 2019 jointly with the Zimbabwe national diamond company is consistently prospecting new deposits,” the statement says.

The first batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Zimbabwe on June 9. On March 9, the Zimbabwean authorities approved the Russian vaccine for emergency use in inoculating the country’s population against the novel coronavirus. Zimbabwean Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa announced that the next batches of the Sputnik V vaccine would be purchased through the National Fund run by the country’s Finance and Economic Development Ministry.

Zimbabwe launched a nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign on February 18. Along with Russia’s Sputnik V, Zimbabwe has approved the Chinese vaccines produced by Sinopharm and Sinovac and the Indian Covaxin jab. As of today, Zimbabwe has made 1.07 million inoculations against the coronavirus. As many as 385,000 people or 2.6% of the country’s population have been fully vaccinated.

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