BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A total of 184 countries and economies have now joined Covax, an international initiative co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners to ensure effective and equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines, according to the WHO.
The program, which China joined on Oct 8, represents the largest portfolio of potential vaccines and the most effective way to share safe and effective vaccines equitably across the world.
That it has won such broad recognition and support shows the international solidarity that exists in the fight against the common public health threat – with one notable exception. It also highlights the sense of urgency that is driving the initiative, since there is still no sign of the pandemic abating.
Even before joining Covax, China had reiterated on different occasions that it would make its vaccines a global public good when they are ready, and prioritise supplying the least-developed and other developing countries, as Beijing regards it as an important way to help build a community of health for all.
In stark contrast, the unilateralist mentality remains pervasive in Washington, which means the US, with the most advanced medical research and manufacturing capabilities, continues to give Covax the cold shoulder.
Although the US administration has pledged to provide its vaccines to other countries, its misappropriation of other countries’ face masks and other essential medical supplies has raised concerns that it will hoard its vaccines as “strategic resources” or use them as a “bonus” for doing its bidding.
Not to mention that the administration’s rejection of the program robs people in the US of access to any vaccines through the international program and risks prolonging both the humanitarian crisis in the country and the pandemic.
While the US president can be “cured” of his infection and become “even better” in just three days, such a remarkably brief convalescence, less than for a cold, is likely to be beyond others.
That’s why, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, China is not only participating in Covax, but also actively cooperating with relevant organisations under its framework to expedite the launch of the desperately needed defence against the virus.
China has at least four experimental vaccines in final stages of clinical trials, and 60,000 volunteers have received the vaccines during phase-3 clinical trials with no severe side effects reported, according to an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology on Tuesday (Oct 20).
And the country has ample capacity to produce the vaccines. SinoPharm, for instance, is setting up production lines to supply 1 billion doses of two possible vaccines, according to its chairman.
The fastest way to end the pandemic and drive a truly global economic recovery is the equitable sharing of vaccines when they are ready. The US administration should stop trying to politicise them and close ranks with the rest of the world.
China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media organisations.
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