SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 24 June 2021, Thursday |

China to provide Afghanistan with COVID-19 vaccine

China has vowed to deliver 400,000 doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine to Afghanistan, Afghan officials announced on Monday, in a bid to boost an immunization campaign that kicked off last week.

“China’s ambassador to Kabul said in a meeting with health officials that his country would provide Afghanistan with 400,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” the health ministry’s head of the immunization program, Ghulam Dastagir Nazari, told Reuters.

Nazari added that the Sinopharm vaccine produced in China has been approved by the World Health Organization, saying however it is unclear when it will be delivered.

So far just over 12,000 health workers have been inoculated in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, he said.

The vaccination of members of the security forces has also started, said another official who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to media.

Afghan government forces have been facing intensified attacks, blamed on Taliban insurgents, since September, when the 2 sides entered US-brokered peace talks hosted by Qatar. The Taliban has largely denied responsibility for the rash of violence. The militant group has also said it supports the inoculation campaign.

India has already sent Afghanistan 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which enabled the nation to begin its vaccination drive last Tuesday.

Afghanistan has registered 55,733 COVID-19 cases and 2,444 deaths. However, experts say infections are significantly under-reported due to low testing and limited access to medical facilities in the war-torn country.