Workers were unloading the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines donated by China in Bujumbura, the commercial capital of Burundi, on Oct. 14, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua/Evrard Ngendakumana/)
China has offered 500,000 Sinopharm doses of COVID-19 vaccines to help Burundi fight the pandemic.
The handover ceremony took place Thursday at the office of the Extended Vaccination Program in Mukaza district in the commercial capital Bujumbura. Chinese Ambassador to Burundi Zhao Jiangping and Burundian officials including Health Minister Thaddee Ndikumana attended the ceremony.
"This donation proves the existence of traditional cooperation between Burundi and China. We had asked for a donation of COVID-19 vaccines from China. Today the donation has reached us. We are grateful," said Thaddee Ndikumana in his speech during the ceremony.
"Since January 2020, China donated medical equipment for the prevention and the fight against the pandemic, mainly protective kits and the screening equipment for coronavirus," said Ndikumana.
Chinese Ambassador to Burundi Zhao Jiangping said the donation testified to the friendship between the two countries.
"After the outbreak of the pandemic, China and Burundi tried their best to combat the pandemic together. China was among the first countries that donated medical equipment to prevent and fight COVID-19," said Zhao.
She underlined that China will remain on Burundi's side in the fight against the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Ndikumana told a press conference that beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccines will be older people, health agents, travelers and anyone who will "voluntarily" express the need to be vaccinated.
Each person who will request to receive the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine will receive two doses in order to boost the immunity against the pandemic, said Ndikumana.
Burundi has been battling against new cases in the Bujumbura municipality and in the northern provinces of Ngozi and Kirundo.
Since Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye took office in June 2020, the government has stepped up measures against COVID-19, including the mass screening campaign and reducing the price of soap with government subsidies.