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China Pledges to Donate 2 Billion Vaccine Doses

China Pledges to Donate 2 Billion Vaccine Doses
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China Pledges to Donate 2 Billion Vaccine Doses

China Pledges to Donate 2 Billion Vaccine Doses

China’s top leader Xi Jinping said the country will provide two billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to the world this year and donate $ 100 million to a global effort to distribute the doses to developing countries, as Beijing tries to take a more important leadership role in the fight against the pandemic.

Xi’s promises were made Thursday in a written message to an international Covid-19 vaccine cooperation forum chaired by the Chinese government. “China will continue to do everything possible to help developing countries cope with the epidemic,” Xi said.

He did not say whether the two billion doses were donations or sales, or whether they were new supplies or included those already sold. China is the world’s largest exporter of Covid-19 vaccines and has sold 952 million doses worldwide, according to Bridge Consulting, a Beijing-based research company. He also donated 33 million doses.

The $ 100 million donation to Covax, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization to deliver vaccines to the poorest countries, would give the organization much needed funding to strike deals with vaccine makers in a time when she has difficulty acquiring and administering doses. . The world still lacks $ 700 million for needed vaccines, according to the WHO, Xi did not give a timeline for the donation.

Providing both vaccines and cash would give Beijing the opportunity to promote its reputation as a leader in public health and improve its image, which took a hit in the West after the pandemic. China’s donations put it in direct competition with the United States, which sent 110 million doses overseas and purchased an additional 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine – worth about $ 3.5 billion. dollars – to be distributed worldwide through Covax.

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Even with these supplies, however, the world remains below the 11 billion doses that the World Health Organization says must be distributed around the world to bring the pandemic under control.

Last year, Xi vowed that a vaccine against Covid-19 would be a “global public good.” But over the following months, China seemed focused on making bilateral deals with countries to gain goodwill.

This year, Beijing has shown more interest in participating in Covax. Last month, two of China’s vaccine makers, Sinopharm and Sinovac, signed an agreement to sell more than half a billion doses of Covax by the first half of next year.

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