China Promises 10 Million Doses of Covid Vaccine to the Developing World
What’s new: China’s foreign ministry announced Wednesday that the country will provide 10 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to developing countries through the global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX.
Wang Wenbin, a ministry spokesman, said at a press conference that the decision was made in answer to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call to help plug a significant shortfall in vaccinations this year, particularly in February and March.
The spokesman did not elaborate on the specifics of the vaccines.
Why it matters: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last month that there needs to be a “collective commitment” to get vaccinations underway worldwide for health workers and others who are at high risk of catching Covid-19.
“Governments, manufacturers, civil society, religious and community leaders, must come together to create the greatest mass mobilization in history for equitable vaccination,” Tedros said.
The COVAX initiative, coordinated by Gavi, a global public-private vaccine alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, aims to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021. China joined the initiative in October.
COVAX is expected to start distributing vaccines in February, with poor and middle-income countries receiving the lion’s share. The initiative announced in December that it had agreements in place to secure 1.3 billion doses, with an aim to vaccinate 20% of world’s population by the end of the year.
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