BAGHDAD - In a health center of Medical City, Iraq's largest medical complex, medical staff members gathered Tuesday to register for COVID-19 vaccination with the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China.
"We are very optimistic about the vaccination program, and we started the vaccination of some 40 medics in more than an hour of the first day," Safaa al-Din Kareem, a nurse vaccinating the health workers at the scene, told Xinhua.
Iraq kicked off its national vaccination on Tuesday by administering the China-donated vaccines to Iraqi frontline health workers.
The Chinese vaccines, Kareem said, are like a lifesaving guard for the medical staff as they "came at the right time because we need it at this critical time with the increase of the coronavirus infections, especially after the detection of the new strain of coronavirus."
Iraqi health workers have expressed their gratitude for the donation, especially as they combat the pandemic on the front line, with infection risks every working day.
Asraa Abbas, a nurse in her 30s, said she felt very happy after receiving a shot, because everyone in hospitals was put in constant danger.
"The Chinese vaccine not only came to save me, it came to save my whole family," she said, adding that all citizens should take the vaccine, and still, they should follow health protective measures and keep social distancing.
Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi said Tuesday that the vaccination began in Baghdad, while the vaccines were delivered to all Iraqi provinces, including the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, hours after the vaccines arrived from China.
Sayf al-Haidari, a supervisor of the vaccination program, told Xinhua that China's Sinopharm vaccine has proven successful.
"The Chinese vaccine is one of the vaccines that have been tried in many countries, including the Arabic countries, and have proven successful," al-Haidari said. "The preliminary results of this vaccine indicated that its success rate is good and high, and other contracts are to be concluded to bring other batches of this vaccine."
“我们对疫苗接种计划非常乐观，我们在第一天的一个多小时内开始为大约40名医务人员接种疫苗，”在现场为卫生工作者接种疫苗的护士Safaa al-Din Kareem告诉新华社。
Mohammed Kamil of the Iraqi Ministry of Health praised China for the COVID-19 vaccines with affordability and accessibility.
"China's donation initiative to Iraq was fast and effective, although China needs large quantities of vaccines for its own population," Kamil said, referring to China's efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines global public goods.
"It is not about the vaccine only. In the past months since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has built a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) laboratory," Kamil said. "This cooperation is very good, and is a goodwill gesture that shows China's desire to help Iraq to overcome this crisis."