by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Wearing an N95 facemask, Gong Tao, a 30-year-old Chinese worker living in Cuba, on Saturday received the first dose of Chinese-made Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at Cira Garcia central clinic in the country's capital.
Gong, who works for a Chinese company based in the Caribbean nation, told Xinhua that the vaccine will protect him against the more contagious and deadlier variants of the coronavirus.
"I have waited for this moment," he said. "This is something that will improve my body's immune response to combat the virus, and I have no doubt about it."
Gong was among a second batch of Chinese nationals in Cuba who have gotten the first shot of Sinopharm vaccine over the past few days.
Among them was Gong's 30-year-old workmate Sheng Yongquan, who felt more protected after the first jab.
"Our government pays huge attention to Chinese people working and studying overseas," he said. "I am very happy today after getting the first jab of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine. But the pandemic is very far from over, so I have to be cautious."
Organized by the Chinese embassy to Cuba, the vaccination program has benefited Chinese nationals living on the island since mid-September.
Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Ma Hui thanked local authorities for their support during the vaccination process, adding that the two countries are united by strong links of solidarity and friendship.
"The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have always seen our people's health as a paramount priority. During the rollout we have received strong support from Chinese companies and citizens," he said while visiting the vaccination center.
Teresa Noto, deputy director of the clinic, told Xinhua that the vaccination drive for Chinese nationals is in line with international standards and biosecurity protocols.
"It is a pleasure for us to vaccinate a batch of Chinese nationals with China's coronavirus vaccines," she said. "China and Cuba share common interests in protecting our peoples' health."
"I will stay in Cuba longer because I have to continue my studies at the University of Havana," said 31-year-old PhD student Liu Nian. "It feels good to have the first dose of a vaccine made by my country."