Seychelles starts using Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

The Seychelles islands off East Africa have begun administering a coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm.

The vaccination campaign was launched on Sunday. President Wavel Ramkalawan became the first to get a shot at a hospital in the capital, Victoria.

The country says it has 50,000 doses donated by the United Arab Emirates.

Local media report this is the first time a COVID-19 vaccine has been used in Africa.

Ramkalawan met with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, and indicated that he would take the lead in using a Chinese-made vaccine.

Most African nations, including South Africa, the hardest-hit country on the continent, have lagged behind in securing a supply of coronavirus vaccine.

Some observers view the Seychelles' campaign as a sign of China's diplomacy aimed at increasing its presence in Africa.