China dominates vaccine diplomacy
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Cape Town - Chinese-manufactured coronavirus vaccines have been distributed globally and made available through donations to promote equitable distribution despite concerns over their efficacy rate.
According to state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), Beijing has pledged to distribute around half a billion vaccine doses globally, or 10 times more jabs than it has distributed locally.
In the past week, the Philippines and Malaysia received their first batches of Chinese vaccines, Sierra Leone awaits 200,000 doses and Zimbabwe will receive a second batch of 200,000 doses.
“We’re seeing real-time vaccine diplomacy start to play out with China in the lead in terms of being able to manufacture vaccines within China and make them available to countries, largely low- and middle-income countries,” Dr Krishna Udayakumar from the Duke Global Health Innovation Centre told South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday.
China has already exported vaccines to 27 countries, and state-owned biotech company Sinopharm has ramped up production to exceed one billion doses before the end of 2021.
The Beijing-based company has developed two Covid-19 vaccines, one of which has been approved for emergency use by the general population in China as well as various countries abroad. The other was developed at its Wuhan unit to be used for select groups with higher virus exposure within China.
Meanwhile, the National Health Commission reported on Monday that a new vaccine by CanSino Biologics was projected to provide two-year protection if a booster shot was administered.
"China puts the safety and effectiveness of vaccines first and has made sure that companies conduct vaccine research and development in strict accordance with scientific methods and regulatory requirements," foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing last week.
"China is providing vaccine aid to 53 countries, while Chinese enterprises have exported vaccines to 27 countries," said Zhao.
African News Agency (ANA)