China helps international vaccine drive
China has been living up to its promise of making COVID-19 vaccines an international public good via donations, sales and joint manufacturing, officials and drugmakers have said.
The beneficiaries include countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
During an online discussion attended by foreign ministers and leaders of international organizations on Nov 11, China's ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, said China has provided more than 1.7 billion doses of vaccines to more than 100 countries. By the end of the year, the country is aiming to provide a total of 2 billion doses, he said.
Qin said China has also supplied over 70 million vaccine doses and donated $100 million to the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX.
More than 99 percent of vaccines provided by China for global use have been shipped to developing countries.
He said solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons to defeat COVID-19, and called on all countries to take a scientific attitude and oppose stigmatization and politicization of the novel coronavirus.
With COVID-19 infections on the rise in some countries and manufacturing capacity for vaccines growing, the World Health Organization has set the goal of vaccinating 40 percent of the population of every country by the end of this year.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing early last month that the target is within reach if vaccines can be distributed equitably worldwide.
"Through dose sharing, swaps, technology transfers and other priority actions, it is possible to reduce deaths and minimize suffering, prevent health systems from being overwhelmed, resume social and economic activities, and reduce the risk of dangerous new variants," he said.
China has been a steady and reliable force in giving momentum to the realization of that goal, with many countries involved in the BRI receiving different forms of virus containment aid from China.
By early August, China had delivered 350 million doses of vaccines to co-sponsors of a Belt and Road partnership on COVID-19 vaccine cooperation, the Foreign Ministry said.
China has been actively implementing the partnership and has reached agreements with partners on a total of 775 million doses of vaccines, of which 350 million doses had been delivered by August.
Chinese companies have started joint production with four co-sponsors of the partnership and are discussing joint production with other countries.
Four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm arrived in Myanmar on Nov 7, marking the final delivery of 24 million doses purchased by Myanmar authorities.
The Chinese embassy in Myanmar said China had helped Myanmar get in touch with Chinese vaccine developers and facilitated its acquisition of vaccines speedily and at the most favorable price.
By early this month, China had provided nearly 38.8 million doses of Chinese-made vaccines to Myanmar, including 8.9 million given as donations, the embassy said.
The first batch of vaccines donated to Tanzania arrived this month, as well as the second batches of doses donated to Rwanda and Vanuatu.
Albert Tuyishime, a Rwandan health official, said during a handover ceremony that the donation was expected to ease the country's vaccine shortage.
"We are happy to receive this second batch, which is again a sign of good collaboration and support from the Chinese government in our fight against this pandemic," Xinhua News Agency quoted Tuyishime as saying.
"We are taking China as one of the leaders in promoting this equitable distribution of vaccines for COVID-19."
Cansino Biologics, a Chinese company that has created a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, said recently that it had set up vaccine packaging plants in Mexico, Pakistan and Malaysia by September.
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