China became the biggest economic powerhouse to finally join the WHO’s global vaccine procurement and distribution initiative COVAX, after months of confusion and delay.
China joining dozens of other powerful nations give WHO’s COVAX initiative a much needed boost that promises to buy and fairly distribute the novel coronavirus vaccine once made vailable.
The announcement comes amid a critical time as the majority of the world’s developed nations are showing historic unfavorable views on China, in regards to the pandemic, polls have found.
China is reportedly in separate talks with WHO to get its locally made COVID-19 vaccines tested for use in the international market.
The US has formally refused to join the COVAX facility over allegations of WHO and China’s interplay — WHO is China’s puppet, US president Donald Trump alleged declining the invitation to join COVAX.
It must be noted, China in the official announcement did not hint about the level of support Beijing will extend in the initiative, but President Xi Jinping earlier pledged $2 billion in the next two years to support the pandemic, Reuters noted.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced that the nation has signed an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and officially joined the initiative.
“This is an important step China has taken to uphold the concept of a shared community of health for all and to honor its commitment of turning COVID-19 vaccines into a global public good,” Hua was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
“China has also said it will not step back from sharing Chinese-made vaccines for the global public good and will be ‘provided to developing countries as a priority.
“We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX. China will also strengthen vaccine cooperation with relevant countries through the COVAX network,” the spokesperson added.
Neither the US nor Russia has joined the COVAX, which has now some 168 nations, 76 of them are wealthy and self-financing ones.
China has at least four COVID-19 vaccines in critical stages of clinical trials. Two of them are being developed by state-backed organizations, while the other two privates.
The novel coronavirus, deemed COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China and has so far infected over 35 million people worldwide and killed more than 1.5 million.