PLA provides COVID-19 vaccines to Pakistani army
Editor: Wang Xinjuan
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday delivered a batch of COVID-19 vaccines to the Pakistani army at their request, according to an official statement from the PLA.
It marks the first time the PLA has provided COVID-19 vaccines to a foreign army, said the statement.
On February 1, a special Pakistan Air Force plane carrying 500,000 doses of Chinese vaccines developed by Sinopharm landed at the Islamabad airport. It's the first batch of donated vaccines provided by the Chinese government to another country.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked China's donation in the handover ceremony, saying "once again you have demonstrated that our friendship is an all-weather tested friendship."
The South Asian country of over 200 million people has officially begun its much-awaited vaccination campaign this week. In the first phase, frontline health workers and those above age 65 will be inoculated.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners. When the coronavirus broke out in China last year, Pakistan was among the first countries to donate medical supplies to China, so when the epidemic situation in China eased, "we supported Pakistan's fight against the virus through various means including donating medical supplies and sending medical experts."
He told reporters that apart from Pakistan, China is also providing vaccine aid to Brunei, Nepal, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Palestine, Belarus, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea, altogether 13 developing countries.
"Going forward, we will also assist another 38 developing countries with vaccines," the spokesperson said, adding China has taken part in the WHO-led COVAX and provides vaccines through the platform to developing countries.
China hopes the international community will work together to promote the equitable allocation and use of vaccines globally to make sure developing countries have access to and can afford them, Wang added.
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