China's provision of COVID-19 vaccines as aid to other countries continued as always during the Chinese New Year, said Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a daily news briefing on Feb 18.
Chinese COVID-19 vaccines were delivered to the seven countries of Zimbabwe, Turkey, Peru, Morocco, Senegal, Hungary and the UAE. Leaders of Hungary and other countries welcomed the vaccines at the airport and expressed gratitude for China's provision and assistance, said Hua.
She said that although the R&D and production of COVID-19 vaccines are at a record-breaking pace thanks to the efforts of governments, businesses and scientists of various countries, there's still deficit in production capacity and distribution that needs to be addressed quickly.
The world should come together to reject vaccine nationalism, promote fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, and, in particular, make them accessible and affordable for developing countries, including those caught in conflicts, said Hua.
In carrying out international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines, China seeks to make the vaccines truly a global public good, added Hua, saying that China will continue cooperating with all sides in such areas as vaccines and epidemic prevention and control, and will contribute to fostering a global community of health for all and to the final victory of the global fight against COVID-19.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed a global vaccination plan at the UN Security Council Ministerial Open Briefing on COVID-19 Vaccine Issue on Feb 17, which was attended by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
In answering a question about the proposal, Hua said China applauds Guterres' proposal, and supports the secretary-general's efforts to realize vaccine equity and accessibility. Under the current circumstances, China holds an open attitude to any proposal conducive to the realization of fair vaccine distribution, and is ready to keep in contact and coordination with all sides.
Hua said that, as Wang had noted at the open briefing, there is no principle more important than putting people first, and no other consideration that is given higher priority than putting people's lives first.
As a country that always honors its commitments, China has been acting on its important pledge to make vaccines a global public good that contributes to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, she said.
China was among the first to join the WHO-sponsored Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative, and actively cooperates with more than 10 countries on vaccine R&D involving over 100,000 volunteers of more than 100 nationalities. China has joined and supported the WHO's global vaccine initiative COVAX, and, at the request of the WHO, has decided to provide 10 million doses of Chinese-made vaccines to meet the urgent demand of developing countries, according to Hua.
China has given vaccine assistance to 53 developing countries. China supports companies that export vaccines to countries that are in urgent need and have authorized Chinese vaccines for emergency use. It has exported and is exporting vaccine doses to 22 such countries, said Hua.
In the meantime, by leveraging the strength of its industrial chains, China supports and assists others in manufacturing vaccine products in China or their own countries in a bid to boost global production capacity. China has also decided to participate in the UN's Group of Friends initiative to donate COVID-19 vaccines to UN peacekeepers, she stressed.