MINSK, 19 February (BelTA) – The production of the Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 may be localized in Belarus. Belarusian Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich mentioned it during a solemn ceremony held on 19 February to welcome an aircraft that had brought humanitarian cargo from Beijing, BelTA has learned.
The aircraft carrying 100,000 coronavirus vaccine doses landed in Minsk on 19 February. According to Dmitry Pinevich, it is an extremely important moment for Belarus and only the first stage in interaction with Chinese colleagues in acquiring the vaccine and possibly localizing its production.
Dmitry Pinevich remarked that the vaccine is very good and inactivated. Its action differs from that of the Russian vaccine that Belarus is now buying and intends to manufacture. “Our strategy is to have a pool of vaccines that will allow fully responding to the epidemic challenges that exist in the country,” he added.
China granted the vaccine for free in continuation of the agreements reached by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and China President Xi Jinping in a phone conversation on 26 January 2021. The Belarusian healthcare minister also mentioned the most important role of the governments and the embassies of the two countries.
The official said: “Belarus was the first country to deliver humanitarian aid to China once the pandemic had affected it. When the epidemic situation started developing in Belarus, we felt the strongest support of our Chinese friends. We received aid in the form of medical goods, protective suits, and test systems from 20 major cities, provinces, and autonomous districts.” Dmitry Pinevich described this cooperation as one of the bright pages that reaffirm Belarus-China strategic relations.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Belarus Xie Xiaoyong noted that the humanitarian aid had been provided as a token of friendly feelings towards the Belarusian government and the nation. “We hope that the Chinese vaccine, which effectiveness and safety have been confirmed by many countries, will be able to play an active role in the fight of Belarusian people against the epidemic,” he said.
Joint efforts to combat the pandemic have become a bright moment in Belarus-China cooperation, the ambassador added.
This shipment of China's aid to Belarus is a step in implementing an important statement by China President Xi Jinping, who said it is necessary to make vaccines global common good. The ambassador reminded that China had decided to provide 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses to the international mechanism COVAX under the aegis of the World Health Organization.
At present China exports the COVID-19 vaccine to 22 countries while over 40 countries stand in line to buy the vaccine.
Made by Sinopharm, the vaccine is the first one China's National Medical Products Administration has authorized for market distribution and is already actively used inside the country. According to Chinese estimates, Sinopharm's vaccine demonstrated 79.34% effectiveness during trials.