The COVID-19 vaccine donated by China to Vanuatu arrived in Port Vila, the country's capital, on June 7. A handover ceremony was held at Vanuatu's National Convention Centre on the same day.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Bob Loughman, Deputy Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau, Minister of Health Silas Bule, other senior officials from the Vanuatu government, Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Zhou Haicheng and the World Health Organization's representative in Vanuatu attended the ceremony. Zhou and Loughman inked the handover certificate on behalf of their governments.
Loughman said in his speech that while many countries are struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government has continuously offered valuable support to Vanuatu. With this donation, he said, the Chinese government had again extended a helping hand to Vanuatu, providing it with the vaccine assistance the country is sorely in need of, and for which Vanuatu is sincerely appreciative.
The arrival of the Chinese vaccine in Vanuatu is the latest achievement in the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Vanuatu, and is a milestone for Vanuatu in defeating the virus and escaping from the epidemic, said Loughman.
Loughman congratulated China on its achievements in vaccine research and development and international anti-pandemic cooperation, and spoke highly of China-Vanuatu relations and China's generous assistance to Vanuatu over the years. He stressed that Vanuatu is willing to make joint efforts with China to continuously expand their friendly cooperation and push for more fruitful relations.
Zhou said that the arrival of the Chinese vaccine in Vanuatu is a major achievement in the joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. China has taken concrete actions to honor its solemn commitment to make its vaccine a global public good, and boost its contribution to the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries, once its COVID-19 vaccine research and development was completed.
Despite the difficulties of its huge domestic demand and short supply, China shipped the Sinopharm vaccine to Port Vila less than one month after it was authorized by the WHO for emergency use. This is another example of China's firm support for Vanuatu in its fight against the pandemic and in its economic recovery. China will continue to actively support Vanuatu in addressing its various challenges and work with other international partners to help Vanuatu successfully complete its vaccination plan and enhance its capacity to cope with major public health crises.