Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday received a consignment of 25 000 doses of the Russian manufactured Covid-19 vaccine — Sputnik V — donated by diamond mining giant Alrosa Group, becoming one of the few countries in the world to access the highly rated doses.
He received the donation at State House in the company of Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga, Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.
The world’s largest diamond producer, Alrosa, which has operations in Zimbabwe, is finalising modalities for the shipment of the remaining 25 000 jabs, for the same number of people to be fully vaccinated by getting two jabs each.
Zimbabwe has been vaccinating its citizenry using highly rated jabs from China and India.
Before the current batch, it had been mainly using the Chinese-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines which were granted Emergency Use Authorisation by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Research conducted by the Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) revealed that the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine has 97,6 percent efficacy.
President Mnangagwa said the donation was a culmination of the sound relations existing between Zimbabwe and the Russian Federation.
Bilateral ties between the two republics have stood the test of time and date back to the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to express my gratitude to the joint venture Alrosa (Zimbabwe) Limited for the generous donation.
“The Sputinik V vaccine consignment will augment the ongoing efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic through the national vaccination programme.
“The consignment will certainly contribute to the achievement of herd immunity in our country. It further attests to the commitment of the Russian Federation to enhance sustainable access to vaccines,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said it was a symbolic and momentous occasion as the vaccines came on the eve of the Russian National Day and sent a congratulatory message to his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.
“The ceremony amplifies the time-tested and excellent relations that Zimbabwe and Russia have nurtured and continue to enjoy, dating back to our struggle for independence.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe cherished the deep-rooted friendship, mutual support and cooperation that had been the hallmark of consistent collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels.
“In the context of our mutual commitment to diversify cooperation and re-energise economic relations, our two countries have in the recent past exchanged high-level visits and signed numerous agreements, memoranda and other vital legal instruments.
“It is pleasing that a notable number are being implemented. These agreements will further lay a strong foundation for strengthening partnerships, cooperation and investments in mining, fertiliser production, risk insurance, environmental protection, nuclear energy development and cooperation in countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
“Additional scope exists for broadened economic and technical cooperation through trade, tourism and partnerships in critical skills and human capital development,” said President Mnangagwa.
“My Government remains committed to expanding and consolidating relations with other member states in the community of nations.
“We are pleased with the footprints of Alrosa through various mining investments. Other investors from the Russian Federation are most welcome to also explore the various investment opportunities which Zimbabwe has to offer,” said the President.
Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Nikolai Krasilnikov handed over the vaccines to the President.
He was accompanied by Alrosa deputy chief executive and head of African operations, Mr Vladimir Marchenko.
“This partnership is about humanitarian support and mutual trust through thick and thin,” said Ambassador Krasilnikov.
“This remarkable event reflects the strong commitment of the Russian businesses to enhance comprehensive partnerships with Zimbabwe in order to meet the targets set by President Putin and President Mnangagwa.”
Mr Marchenko said the donation was their commitment to social corporate responsibility in the area they were conducting their business.
“With these mutual activities, I believe we will win this battle (against Covid-19) very soon,” he said.