Zimbabwe receives first batch of vaccines from China

Zimbabwe has received 200,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines from China.

Zimbabwe's President, Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country will start administering the vaccine this week.

"The first batch of vaccines for Zimbabwe has been successfully delivered. We start vaccinating Zimbabweans this week! The faster our country is protected against this virus, the faster Zimbabwe's economy can flourish," he said.

A further 600,000 doses from China are due to arrive in early March, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said last week.

It's been reported that Zimbabwe has set aside $100 million for vaccine procurement, and is looking to buy 20 million doses in efforts to immunise about 60% of its population and achieve herd immunity.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, head of the delegation receiving the vaccines that included the finance minister, said frontline health workers would be the first to be vaccinated.

"This is a timely donation... our people have suffered from this pandemic. The vaccine offers the possibility that our people who have borne the brunt of the economic ravages of the pandemic might finally turn a new page," Chiwenga said.

Zimbabwe is also negotiating with Russia over the procurement of its Sputnik vaccine and was expecting more doses from India.

Last week, Senegal paid $3.7 million for 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine - nearly $19 per shot.

Only a few African nations have started rolling out the vaccine, as the continent struggles to obtain supplies for its 1.3 billion people.

So far, 1,400 people are reported to have died of Covid and 35,000 have tested positive.