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RWANDA: China to donate 4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Rwanda

Hudson Kuteesa with The New Times

China will donate at least four million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Rwanda this year, according to information from the Chinese Embassy.

A statement released by the embassy on Tuesday, January 11 indicates that Rao Hongwei, the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda had a phone call with Vincent Biruta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where he officially notified him about the development.

“Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, China has been vigorously promoting international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and helping developing countries, including Rwanda, obtain Covid-19 vaccines,” Rao said in the statement.

“At the just-concluded eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged another 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines for Africa countries.

“As the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading around the globe, China actively implements President Xi’s commitment and decides to donate an additional 4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Rwanda, to further support the Rwandan side in speeding up national vaccination program and better protecting people’s health and safety,” he added.

During the same call, Rao also congratulated Rwanda on achieving the goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its population in 2021.

On his part, Biruta, expressed gratitude to the Chinese Government for the vaccine donation, saying that the Asian country has contributed to Rwanda’s success as far as hitting last year’s vaccination targets on schedule is concerned.

He noted that the assistance will help Rwanda increase the vaccination rate, reach the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by mid-2022 timely, and greatly boost Rwanda’s confidence in Covid-19 response.

China has provided more than 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to over 120 countries and international organizations by the end of 2021, making itself the biggest supplier of outbound vaccines among all countries over the world.

Currently, Rwanda has inoculated more than 7.8 million of its population with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 5.6 million have received two doses.

Recently, efforts to administer a booster dose began, and as of Wednesday, 408,771 people have received it.

In November last year, the Ministry of Health extended the vaccination programme to cover children of 12 years old and above, and the government is now looking at the possibility of administering the Covid-19 jabs to children under 12 years of age.

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