Ceremony for the arrival of Sinopharm (COVID-19) vaccines in Barbados, donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. (PMO).

China’s Sinopharm vaccines are “safe and efficacious” and are 79 per cent effective against SARS-CoV-2 infections, says Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Kenneth George.

Speaking at the arrival ceremony for 30,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine at the Grantley Adams International Airport this afternoon, Dr. George said the batch of vaccines was an alternative choice to those already available in Barbados. 

He added that on May 7, this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older.

The Chief Medial Officer also pointed out that Sinopharm was given as a two-dose regime, separated by two to three weeks, and could be given to individuals who had already contracted COVID-19, as well as to pregnant women and persons who were immuno-compromised.

“This is an exciting time, and again, I urge people in communities across this island to seriously consider getting vaccinated.  This is one of our major hopes with respect to combatting COVID,” he emphasised.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, in his brief remarks, said the donation was a continuation of the support readily offered by the People’s Republic of China to the Ministry from the beginning of the pandemic.

“The arrival of the Sinopharm vaccines is something we’ve been looking forward to for a while and we are very happy because, as you know, vaccines are not readily available to small island developing states. This is really the bedrock for what we hope to achieve as a country to facilitate the return to economic growth and activity.

“And, also to deal with some of the psycho-social problems that would’ve come from the period of the pandemic and what our people would’ve had to undergo.  I just really want to express the sincerest gratitude of the staff of Ministry of Health and Wellness and to thank you very much for the donation of the Sinopharm vaccines,” Minister Bostic stated.

China’s Ambassador to Barbados, Yan Xiusheng, said since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, both Barbados and China had extended support to each other and had been fighting “hand-in-hand”.  He added that the arrival of the Sinopharm vaccines was China’s contribution to Barbados’ fight against the virus.

“The virus respects no borders and presents a common challenge to mankind. No country can ward off its impact.  China has donated and exported more than 400 million doses of vaccines to more than 90 countries.  It has joined the WHO’s COVAX initiative and pledged 10 million doses of vaccines to meet the urgent needs of developing countries,” he shared.

The Ambassador explained that China opposed vaccine nationalism and immunisation gaps and supported the waiving of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.

This, he pointed out, “would make vaccines more affordable and accessible in developing countries, providing more distribution of vaccines and building a global shield against the virus”.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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