"The donation could not have come at a better time than now when the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic is higher, in the process stretching our healthcare facilities and resources to the limit. Our frontliners have never been this strained and overwhelmed," said Edwin Dikoloti, Botswana's minister of health and wellness, after the handover ceremony in Gaborone.
No country can be "immune" from the pandemic, said the minister, adding that COVID-19 vaccines should be available to everyone.
Chinese nationals received their first shots of Chinese #COVID19 vaccines in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, as China's spring sprout vaccine program was launched in the country on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/8kitDAye8v
Wang Xuefeng, China's ambassador to Botswana, said during the ceremony that he believes these supplies, a gesture of friendship from China and the UNFPA, will meet Botswana's urgent need and help the bravest frontline health workers protect themselves while fighting against the pandemic.
For the common interest of the international community, the origin-tracing of the virus should not be manipulated by politics, the ambassador said, noting that it is a major and complex scientific issue, and requires the collaboration of scientists around the world.
"We can lose no time in strengthening international vaccine cooperation to save lives rather than political manipulation and finger-pointing," he added.
Botswana has reported 122,574 confirmed cases with 1,704 deaths as of Thursday.