SYDNEY -- The Solomon Islands has received a batch of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, making it the first Pacific island country to get COVID-19 vaccines from China through bilateral channels.
A handover ceremony was held on Monday at the Solomon Islands prime minister's official residence. Chinese Ambassador to the Solomon Islands Li Ming and Solomon Islands Health Minister Culwick Togamana signed the vaccine handover document at the ceremony, witnessed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Sogavare expressed gratitude to the Chinese side and reaffirmed his continued commitment to pushing forward with the development of bilateral relations with China.
The vaccine shipment was received on Sunday night by Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, Togamana and Li, at the airport in Honiara, capital of the South Pacific island nation.
Li said the vaccine arrival showed the Chinese people's friendship and increased the hope for the Solomon Islands to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and save more lives.
The safety and effectiveness of the Chinese-made vaccine have been fully tested, said the Chinese ambassador, adding that China is the first country to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the Solomon Islands through bilateral channels, and the cooperation between the two countries in combating COVID-19 reflected the development of bilateral relations.
While expressing their gratitude for China's assistance, Maelanga and Togamana said the arrival of the Chinese-made vaccines was an important milestone in the two countries' anti-pandemic cooperation.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in the Solomon Islands so far.