SYDNEY, June 7 (Xinhua) - The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government arrived in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu on Monday.
The Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, transported via Air Vanuatu's charter flight, are the first bilateral vaccine donation the pacific island country has received.
A handover ceremony was held at the country's National Convention Centre, which was attended by 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 World Health Organization (WHO) officers, among others.
Loughman said the arrival of the Sinopharm vaccines is a fruit of the Vanuatu-China comprehensive strategic partnership, which marks another milestone in Vanuatu's fight to keep itself free from the coronavirus.
The Vanuatu prime minister expressed sincere appreciation to the Chinese government for the assistance.
Speaking highly of the development of the bilateral relations and China's assistance to Vanuatu over the years, Loughman said Vanuatu will continue to work with the Chinese side to promote the bilateral cooperation to achieve more fruitful outcomes.
Chinese Ambassador Zhou Haicheng said the arrival of the vaccines is a great achievement of China and Vanuatu in joint anti-pandemic fight, and a proof that China has been delivering the commitment of making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. He believed these vaccines would contribute to Vanuatu's plan for completing the first vaccination rollout by the end of this year.
He said China and Vanuatu have worked hand in hand and set a model for joint pandemic response. China will continue to work with global partners to support Vanuatu's efforts to roll out the vaccination, and enhance its preparedness and capability to cope with major public health emergencies.
As a major effort to facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries and resumption of work and production, the flight also brought around 80 Chinese engineers and technicians to Vanuatu. They will participate in the construction of key bilateral cooperation projects.