Zimbabwe to receive 800,000 doses of vaccine from China

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HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe expects to receive a total of 800,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, a government official said Wednesday.

“This donation [from China] of 200,000 doses and an initial batch of 600,000 doses which the Zimbabwe government has purchased are expected in the country by Feb. 15 and the first week of March respectively,” said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.​​​​​​​

“An aircraft will be dispatched to China no later than the 13th of February 2021 to collect these vaccine doses,” Mutsvangwa said during her televised address to the nation.

She added that US$100 million had been set aside to procure 20 million vaccine doses to immunize 60% of the population.

“Through this initiative, we will vaccinate 10 million Zimbabweans,” she said.

Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe has also purchased an unspecified amount of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and India has also offered to donate vaccines. Some vaccines will also be coming via the African Union and the COVAX facility.

The revelations come barely a day after she told the nation that the government was not so sure which vaccines it was planning to purchase with the US$100 million set aside, raising controversy in the southern African nation.

“The choice of vaccines has to be science based following adequate research and proper findings,” Mutsvangwa said.

At least three ministers and several top government officials have died from COVID-19 in less than two months, forcing President Emmerson Mnangagwa to announce new cabinet appointments earlier this week.