BEIJING – China announced on Friday that it was joining the global COVID-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX and promised to prioritize access to developing countries.
On Thursday, the government signed an agreement with GAVI, the co-leader of the coronavirus vaccine alliance, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
This marked the entry of the world’s second largest economy into COVAX with the objective of “ensuring that developing countries have equal access to vaccines,” Hua said in a statement to media on Friday.
Hua added that China will make the vaccines it develops available to the world and that these “will be provided to developing countries as a priority.”
“We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX,” she said.
However, the spokesperson did not give details of how China would contribute to COVAX.
On Sept. 30, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an additional infusion of $35 billion into the initiative to “ensure maximum impact.”
COVAX is one of three pillars of the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the WHO.
The initiative aims to ensure that “2 billion doses can be fairly distributed by the end of 2021.”
At the moment, the most notable absence from the initiative is the United States.
Last month, China’s state media reported that four COVID-19 vaccines being developed by the country have entered Phase 3 clinical trials.