ON MARCH 16, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley held a very productive phone call meeting. Vaccination co-operation was among top topics, on which China reiterated its commitment to facilitating vaccines accessibility and anti-pandemic efforts for the wellness and well-being of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Put the people first and serve the people is the core value of the Chinese government, not only in successfully containing the covid19 virus on its own soil, but also in actively providing assistance to the international community. President Xi solemnly declared that Chinese covid19 vaccines will be made a global public good, contributing to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries including TT.
With the covid19 pandemic still raging around the world, vaccines are important weapons to fight the virus and save lives.
In less than a week, the Chinese side followed up with confirming 100,000 doses of Chinese covid19 vaccines to be donated to the Government of TT. This is another highlighting demonstration of the China-TT friendship and partnership which shine even brighter against the pandemic.
On May 7, after going through all stringent assessment including an on-site inspection of its production facility, the Sinopharm covid19 vaccine was approved into emergency use listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization for it to be rolled out globally. As WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, the Sinopharm vaccine received WHO validation because of its “safety, efficacy and quality.”
On the basis of all available evidence, WHO recognises that this vaccine efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalised patients was estimated to be 79 per cent, all age groups combined, and recommends it for adults 18 years and older.
Actually, even before the WHO EUL approval, this vaccine had been authorised for use in 45 countries/jurisdictions and over 65 million doses have been administered through various emergency use programmes. Many heads of state or government have publicly received jabs of this vaccine, casting votes of confidence in its safety and efficacy.
At this crucial point where science and reason should be leading the way, any kind of politicisation and stigmatisation of vaccines should be opposed, as this “political virus” can cost lives just as the covid19 virus does and even worse. At this critical moment where selfless service should be prevailing, any kind of political reckoning out of self-interest should be opposed, as whatever we do we should do it for the people’s greater good.
I also note with pity that, either being misled by some western media with “anti-China syndrome,” or having not done any fact-checking or field study, some people are seeing China as what it was in the last century, thus are jumping to negative comments on China-related matters. Over the past decades, Chinese people have brought about enormous progress on the economy, environmental protection, science and technology, infrastructure and many other fronts. Such changes are taking place every minute while I am writing this.
Frankly speaking, I would find myself lost at the latest enhancements if getting back to my hometown after working overseas for a while. As the Chinese ambassador to TT, one of my main responsibilities is introducing a real modern China to TT and promoting people-to-people exchanges. “Seeing is believing.” I encourage more TT friends to go and see China with their own eyes, but not through the lens of certain western media. I believe the beautiful scenery, smiling people, convenient utilities and cutting-edge technologies could find you a whole wider world.
Now the Chinese team is working in full swing with the Government of TT to make sure the 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines could arrive early and safely to help meet the immediate needs here. We are appreciative of the efficient co-operation and dedication from ministers and their teams on the TT side. This is a following through of our leaders’ “people-first consensus,” also an embodiment of the earnest friendship from the Chinese people across the ocean.
“Real gold can withstand the test of fire.” Despite some doubts and even smear driven by hidden agendas, I have full confidence that with “real gold” partnership and friendship between our countries and peoples, with “real gold” quality of Chinese covid19 vaccines, China and TT will continue to join hands to defeat the virus together and advance post-pandemic common development in the near future, delivering more benefits to our peoples.
Fang Qiu is the Chinese Ambassador to TT