Two thousand doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines have been donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The delivery of vaccines to three UNRWA fields of operation, namely Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, was completed in the last week of February 2022. This vital contribution of COVID-19 vaccines will help protect Palestine refugees and more importantly, complement and contribute to the national vaccination and deployment programs of host countries.
Bolstering host countries’ ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 is critical, and universal, equitable, and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines is central to achieving this goal. This generous donation came as China’s immediate response to the Agency’s needs amid global constraints in COVID-19 vaccine supply, as well as emerging uncertainties around the vaccination rollouts across the region. This contribution from the Government of China sends a clear message of solidarity with Palestine refugees, who have been made increasingly vulnerable by the pandemic and enduring regional conflict.
Expressing his appreciation for the donation, UNRWA Director of Health Programme, Dr. Seita Akihiro said: “The COVID-19 vaccine donation from the People’s Republic of China provides a crucial layer of protection for Palestine refugees and promotes equitable and timely vaccine access. This will also strengthen our collaboration with host countries as they kindly included Palestine refugees in their national vaccination programs. We are truly grateful for the Government of China and its people.”
In referencing their support to the UNRWA, His Excellency, Head of the Office of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Palestine, Ambassador Guo Wei, said, “China always values and supports UNRWA’s efforts, and appreciates continuous provision by UNRWA of important assistance and services to Palestine refugees in the Middle East for a long time. This vaccine aid of China aims at implementing the Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, the core of which is to accelerate equitable access to vaccines in developing countries. China will, as always, support the work of URNWA and continue to provide practical assistance to Palestine refugees.”
The People’s Republic of China is a valued partner and long-standing donor for UNRWA. On top of the vaccine donation, China also provides regular financial contributions in support of the delivery of emergency food assistance to more than one million abject and absolute poor Palestine refugees in Gaza.