China donated vaccines to Maldives out of goodwill: Ambassador Zhang

Chinese Ambassador to Maldives, Zhang Lizhong | Photo: Avas

Malé, Maldives — Chinese Ambassador to Maldives, Zhang Lizhong has spoken about the misleading accusations against the Chinese government that has been spreading in social media regarding the Covid-19 vaccine donations.

Ambassador Zhang took on to twitter to state that there are reports claiming that the vaccine donation from the Chinese government is not out of good will but for second purposes and that this was unacceptable.

Ambassador Zhang denied the misleading comments against the Chinese government and stated that the vaccine donation from China aims nothing but to facilitate the Maldivian Government to implement their vaccination plan for the people’s health.

He stated that the reports saying otherwise are attempts of people to twist China’s goodwill, normal practice and procedures regarding vaccine donation.

China had earlier this month announced that they will be aiding Maldives with additional 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine while they had already pledged 100,000 doses to the Maldives.

Maldives had previously received 5,000 doses of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, Sinopharm earlier this year. According to HEOC spokesperson Dr. Nazla Rafeeq, the 5,000 vaccines were stored and awaiting to be permitted by the Food and Drug Authority of the Maldives after assessments.

MFDA had approved Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine along with Pfizer for use in the Maldives and was announced by Deputy Director General of MFDA in a press conference, stating that the approval was signed on 14 March 2021.

The Maldives commenced vaccinations on February 1, 2021 and has already given the first dose to 46% of the eligible population. Currently, the Covishield vaccine developed by Astrazeneca-Oxford University is used in the Maldives. The vaccine is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

The first batch was 100,000 doses gifted by India to the Maldives. More vaccine doses are to be received through the WHO COVAX facility, that will arrive mid February. A further 700,000 doses of the vaccine are being procured by the Maldivian government, expected to be received in March. The Health Minister recently announced that Maldives will also procure the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.