Chinese vaccines boost global fight against COVID-19 pandemic
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 13:57, June 02, 2021
The approval of the two Chinese vaccines, at a time when the world is still struggling to contain the virus with many countries and regions in dire need of vaccines, will help China make greater contribution to the global fight against the pandemic, said experts.
GENEVA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) validated on Tuesday the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac for emergency use, which made it the second Chinese vaccine included in the WHO Emergency Use Listing after the previous one developed by another Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm.
Experts believe the approval of the two Chinese vaccines, at a time when the world is still struggling to contain the virus with many countries and regions in dire need of vaccines, will help China make greater contribution to the global fight against the pandemic.
BROADER PORTFOLIO OF VACCINES
According to the WHO, 352,685 new cases were reported on June 1 across the world, bringing the global tally to 170,426,245, while COVID-19 deaths worldwide reached 3,548,628. As of May 31, a total of 1,579,416,705 vaccine doses had been administered.
The WHO's announcement on Tuesday about the validation of the Sinovac vaccine is good news for the whole world, especially for countries that are in serious shortage of vaccines. Earlier last month, the Sinopharm vaccine, an inactivated vaccine, was validated by the WHO for emergency use.
"The Sinovac-CoronaVac product is an inactivated vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings," said a statement issued by the WHO.
"The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe," WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products Mariangela Simao said in the statement. "We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control."
Delegates who attended the just-concluded 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) also called for increasing vaccine supply and ensuring fair access to vaccines for countries around the world, especially low-income countries.
Following the WHO's announcement of the validation of the Sinovac vaccine, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that the vaccine is widely used in Turkey, and "we will continue to bring every vaccine with proven safety and effectiveness to our citizens."
Turkey began its vaccination drive with China's Sinovac vaccine on Jan. 14, with priority given to healthcare professionals and the elderly. Until the beginning of April, the country had solely used Sinovac's jabs.
The WHO's authorization of the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use is "very positive," Lu Mengji, professor at the Institute of Virology of the University Hospital of Essen in Germany, told Xinhua. "It will play an important role in the global fight against the pandemic."
The Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, which have already been used in many countries and regions across the world, are playing an important role in the global anti-pandemic fight.
China has provided COVID-19 vaccines as public goods by offering medical assistance to 80 countries, exporting vaccines to 43 countries and supplying 300 million doses of vaccines worldwide, said Chinese delegate Yang Feng at the WHA.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic expressed her gratitude for the delivery of millions of doses "in the shortest possible time" when her country welcomed the eighth flight carrying Chinese vaccines last week, a huge boost to the Balkan country's vaccination campaign.
"We are very grateful to China and the Chinese people for enormous support and help, for the vast quantity of vaccines that we received," said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic when he received the second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine on April 27.
Hungary, the first European Union (EU) member state to buy and authorize the use of Chinese vaccines, has a leading vaccination rate among EU countries thanks to Chinese and Russian COVID-19 vaccines, Zoltan Kovacs, international spokesman for the Hungarian government and secretary of state for international communication and relations, told Xinhua.
This is extremely valuable at a time when every dose of vaccine is eagerly awaited not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) but all over the world, said BiH's Minister of Civil Affairs Ankica Gudeljevic when receiving a batch of China-donated Sinopharm vaccine in late April.
China has also shown great concern about the epidemic situation in Africa, and has already donated vaccines to many countries on the continent.
At a recent United Nations Security Council meeting, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China has been a staunch supporter of Africa in the COVID-19 fight.
China has been, and is, providing vaccines to more than 30 African countries on the basis of their urgent need, said Wang.
In his speech at the 74th WHA opening, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries worldwide to share vaccine doses now and fast to COVAX, the WHO-led initiative for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
China has already decided to offer 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX, a concrete step to deliver on its promise to make vaccines a global public good. It has also called for a rejection of vaccine nationalism to make vaccines more accessible to and affordable for developing countries.
For example, China has recently agreed with Egypt on establishing a Chinese vaccine production line in the country. The first batch of the raw materials to manufacture the Sinovac vaccine arrived at the Cairo International Airport on May 21.
It is believed that the WHO's validation of China's two vaccines will further help the global fight against the pandemic, and boost confidence in defeating the virus through international cooperation.
For countries with limited resources of medical technology, inactivated vaccines like the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines have a great advantage when it comes to putting into use, said Lu, the professor in Germany.
"The higher the trust in the vaccines available on the market, the quicker the world can advance to its goal of a high global protection against the COVID-19 pandemic," said Neville Calleja, head of the Department of Public Health at the University of Malta.
"The quicker this is achieved, the less the time available for the virus to mutate ... As for the variants that occur, it is increasingly clear that collaboration between manufacturers is key for the creation of boosters later on," Calleja told Xinhua.
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