The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe damage to the economy and the livelihoods of people around the world and has raised a question about global cooperation – how do countries work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind during the pandemic?
COVAX: To better support other countries in need
COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It is led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi (a public-private vaccine-promoting alliance), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (a foundation that finances research into vaccines for pandemics).
While wealthy countries are hoarding the bulk of limited stocks of COVID-19 vaccines, most of the world's population living in developing countries are left defenseless. For those low- and middle-income countries and economies who would otherwise be unable to afford these vaccines, COVAX has provided a lifeline and a viable way in which their citizens will get access to COVID-19 vaccines.
COVAX began distributing vaccines in February 2021. As of February 13, 2023, COVAX has shipped 1.89 billion doses to over 100 countries, according to the latest report released by GAVI. Among those, Pfizer-BioNTech contributed 544 million doses. The primary course coverage of vaccination among 92 low- to middle-income countries in the COVAX Facility increased from 34 percent in December, 2021 to 53 percent in January, 2023.
China's engagement in COVAX
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China was the first to support the waivers of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and to conduct vaccine production cooperation with other developing countries.
In 2021, Sinopharm and Sinovac were validated by the WHO's Emergency Use Listing.
As China has also taken an active part in COVAX Facility under the WHO framework, more than 220 million doses of China's Sinopharm and Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines have been shipped to the recipient countries through COVAX, according to Gavi's latest data brief on COVAX.
China's contribution during the pandemic
Amid the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has achieved the significance of building a community of health for mankind and put forward a series of major initiatives and measures.
In the past three years, China has actively participated in global health governance, provided international assistance, shared anti-pandemic experience, and taken other practical actions to inject great impetus into the worldwide battle against the pandemic.
According to the data released by the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, China has fulfilled its international responsibility and provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. Hundreds of billions of anti-epidemic materials have been provided to 153 countries and 15 international organizations.
"We are willing to continue to work with the international community to cope with the challenges of the epidemic, to better protect people's lives and health and restore healthy growth of the world economy, and promote the building of a healthy community for all," said Mi Feng, a spokesperson with China's National Health Commission.
(Data edited by Sun Yiwen; graphics designed by Mukesh Mohanan)