China joins global COVID-19 vaccine programme
Backed by the World Health Organisation, the scheme calls for the distribution of two billion doses by the end of 2021. China has been criticised for its handling of the pandemic. Critical of the WHO, the US has not joined the initiative. Vaccine effectiveness will be undermined without a high percentage of vaccination.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – China today announced that it is joining COVAX, the global scheme to distribute COVID-19 vaccine backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This comes a few days after the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey indicating that hostility towards the People’s Republic has grown along with criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that China wants to ensure an equitable distribution of vaccines, especially in developing countries.
However, Beijing did not detail the support it will provide to the COVAX programme, which aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021.
So far, the SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 36 million people worldwide, with more than a million deaths.
In total, 171 countries have joined COVAX, which should provide each member with vaccine doses in proportion to its population.
The United States and Russia have not joined. The Trump administration pulled out because the programme is led by the WHO, which the US accuses of covering up China’s faults in the early stages of the pandemic crisis.
Meanwhile, some 200 potential vaccines are in development and about 30 have entered human trials. And despite scepticism in the international scientific community, some countries like China and Russia plan to start administering the drug by the end of the year.
According to a survey by the World Economic Forum released in September, 74 per cent of people interviewed would be willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. For experts, this percentage is too low and could undermine the effectiveness of vaccination.