A donation by China of 150,000 shots of its Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine arrived in Syria’s Damascus on Saturday, with another batch of the same size planned, Syrian officials reported.
“We appreciate this aid which will allow the health ministry to combat the pandemic, to curb its impact on health, society and the economy,” Hassan Ghabash, the health minister, told reporters at the airport.
Ghabash said the doses would go first to healthcare workers, and then to the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
The Chinese ambassador to Syria said the next 150,000 jabs would arrive soon.
Officials have said the country is also discussing vaccines with Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s main ally, but no announcements have been made over receiving doses from Moscow.
This week, Damascus got its first delivery of coronavirus vaccines from the global COVAX initiative, around 200,000 AstraZeneca doses, U.N officials said. More deliveries are expected in coming weeks.
The World Health Organization has deployed teams across Syria for a vaccination program that will be rolled out both in government territory and some parts of the country outside state control after 10 years of war.