Ambassador Xiao Jianguo’s Remarks at the Sinovac Vaccine Launch Ceremony
14 June 2021
Your Excellency Mr. Aniceto, President of National Parliament,
Your Excellency Ms. Belo, Minister of Health,
Your Excellency Mr. Maia, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport,
Your Excellency Mr. Longuinhos, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Culture,
Your Excellency Mr. Filomeno, Minister of Defence,
Your Excellency Ms. Sara, Vice Minister of Finance,
Your Excellency Mr. Bonifácio, Vice Minister of Health,
Your Excellency Mr. Abrão, Secretary of State for Youth and Sport,
Respected Prof. Joao, President of the National University of Timor-Leste,
Respected Ambassadors and Representatives from the diplomatic corps,
Dear teachers, and young students,
Ladies and gentlemen:
It’s a great pleasure to be here, at the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL), to attend the Sinovac Vaccine Launch Ceremony. Today it happens to be the Dragon Boat Festival in China, a traditional folk event for people to pray to get rid of the disease for the sake of health, safety and well-being. First of all, I wish you all the best at the Festival.
During the Dragon Boat Festival, nowadays people usually have boat or canoe racing competition on waters. As it is becoming warmer and the rainy season is coming, ancient Chinese begin to worry about the occurrence of local diseases. They usually hold a spiritual ceremony, during which they would make some paper boats and then set these paper boats aflame into the sky or afloat along the rivers, as a symbol to send off or to bid farewell to the disease. It seems to me that today’s Sinovac vaccine launch ceremony has its typical significance since it coincides in the Chinese traditional way. Today we are gathering here to start the Sinovac vaccination program in order to drive off the Covid-19 disease from Timor-Leste and to pray for the Timorese people. On such a special festival, I really hope and believe Sinovac Vaccine can play an important and constructive role in Timor-Leste’s fight against Covid-19 and the relevant vaccination program goes well.
As a gift from the Chinese government to Timorese government, the donation of Sinovac Vaccine carries the friendship of two countries and two peoples, and it is inseparable from the personal attention paid by H.E. Prime Minister Ruak. Last March, when Covid-19 became severe and begun its community transmission in Timor-Leste, Prime Minister Ruak wrote a letter to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for vaccine cooperation, which eventually led to this vaccine assistance. And today, H.E. President of the National Parliament Aniceto is present in person for the launch ceremony, which demonstrates, not only great importance attached to the its own vaccination campaign in the Timor-Leste but also the bilateral friendship that the two countries enjoy and trust of the Chinese vaccine that Timorese side has. I would like to express my special thanks to H.E. President of the National Parliament Aniceto for attending the ceremony. In a very short period of time, the Ministry of Health of Timor-Leste has done a lot for the transportation, reception, storage, distribution of Sinovac Vaccine in Timor-Leste. Meanwhile the Ministry has also designated some vaccination sites for the overseas Chinese here. I appreciate it very much and express my thanks to H.E. Minister Belo and all other officials in the Ministry of Health.
WHO approved the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use early this month, which means the vaccine “meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”. Sinovac vaccine has many advantages. First, reliable. It is an inactivated vaccine. Developed in a more traditional and mature way, it is more reliable in safety, less likely to cause serious side effects. Second, easy to store. It can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8 degrees Celsius, at least for two years, a longer validity period than other brands of vaccines. It is highly suitable for the low-resource countries. Third, effective, especially in the prevention of severe cases and deaths. The WHO said it prevented severe symptoms and hospitalization in 100% of the samples. A recent study published by the Ministry of Health of Indonesia showed that two shots of the Sinovac vaccine was 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms. And in Brazil, after having 75% of its residents vaccinated with Sinovac vaccines, a small town named Serrana saw a clear drop of the epidemic, and daily life restored to near normal. Fourth, suitable for a wide range of ages. Sinovac is recommended to be administered to those aged 18 and over, which means there is no upper limit on age for vaccination. Elderly people over 60 in China are targeted population to be vaccinated. And the Chinese government has approved its emergency use to younger recipients aged from 3 to 17 years old at home as well.
I learnt that the main target population of Sinovac vaccine in Timor-Leste is teachers, students and faculty staff members. I am glad that Sinovac can be helpful to an earlier restoration of the education system in Timor-Leste since classes are suspended in all schools in Timor-Leste. As you know, China has long supported the development of education in Timor-Leste. A few days ago, the Chinese Embassy announced its annual winners of Chinese Government Scholarship for the coming academic year, 16 young Timorese talents have been admitted to Chinese universities. The Chinese Embassy has also conducted a “Chinese Ambassador Scholarship Program”, and up to now 110 outstanding college students from low-incoming families have been benefited. During the pandemic, I also visited several primary and middle schools and donated anti-epidemic items such as face masks and liquid sanitizers. These achievements are from the joint efforts by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Culture, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and UNTL. I thank H.E. Minister of Higher Education Science and Culture Longuinhos, H.E. Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Maia and President of UNTL Joao for their cooperation and I am looking forward to a closer cooperation with Timorese side in the cultural and educational sectors.
Facing to unprecedented pandemic, the world is getting to a perilous point. There is a greater recognition of the importance of the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and the urgency of building a global community of health for all. The world must come together as one, we must help each other. At this critical moment, China and Timor-Leste will firmly stand together and cooperate to fight against the pandemic. As a good friend, good partner, and good neighbor, China will continue to deepen its anti-epidemic cooperation with Timor-Leste. As far as we know, in China, nearly half of the population has been inoculated at least one dose. I also wanna tell you, with pride, that I am the first Chinese who received the jab in Timor-Leste, and I am OK and I must say I feel even stronger against the coronavirus. So I will take this opportunity to appeal to the Timorese to get inoculated without any hesitancy, no matter Sinovac or other brands, so that everyone can work together to set up a shield against the coronavirus, and bring Timor-Leste back to normal soon. Let’s join hands together.