RUSSIAN diamond producer, Alrosa, intends to help Zimbabwe and Angola – countries where it has mining interests – with the purchase and distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine, said Bloomberg News citing the miner’s CEO, Sergey Ivanov.
“We intend to provide dozens of thousands of vaccines to each of these countries upon their availability for exports,” Ivanov said in an emailed response to Bloomberg News questions.
Whilst Ivanov didn’t specify the amount of vaccines that will be given to the two African nations, the vaccine would be Russia’s own Sputnik V, once it had been given emergency-use authorisation. “Allowing for time needed to produce the vaccine, we expect first shipments to start from the second half of March,” Ivanov said.
Zimbabwean Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday told a press briefing that in addition to the donation from Russia, talks for purchasing more doses have begun.
Bloomberg said on February 9 that Zimbabwe would receive 200,000 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines donated by China on February 15, allowing the southern African country to kick-start a campaign to inoculate two-thirds of its population.
Zimbabwe’s outbreak is overwhelming hospitals, and two cabinet ministers died in January after contracting the virus, said the newswire.
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t altered Alrosa’s perspective on Zimbabwe’s diamond-mining prospects and the company intends to “accelerate its activities” there, Ivanov said. Alrosa Zimbabwe, which holds 25 prospecting concessions, expects to receive another “15 by late February to early March,” he said.