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Access to vaccines still an issue: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-02-23 19:16
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Solidarity in the global endeavor against the COVID-19 pandemic has so far proved to be meaningless as far as the fair distribution of vaccines is concerned. Since the number of doses administered in 10 developed countries accounts for 75 percent of the world's total and inoculation has not even started in 130 countries, the prospect of effectively containing the spread of the novel coronavirus worldwide is not as bright as it should be.

That explains why World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded with rich countries on Monday to check before ordering additional vaccine shots for themselves whether that undermines efforts to get vaccine shots to poor countries.

Although the leaders of the G7 industrial countries said their countries have committed a collective $7.5 billion to COVAX, the WHO head said on Monday that "even if you have the money, if you cannot use the money to buy vaccines, having the money does not mean anything".

It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of whether there are enough doses of vaccines for COVAX to buy for developing or less-developed countries.

As early as May 2020, President Xi Jinping declared that the vaccines China developed and manufactured would be a global public good. China has already promised to provide 10 million doses to COVAX to meet the emergency needs of developing countries.

And it is setting a good example by providing vaccines to as many countries as it can. China has already provided vaccines to 53 countries and is exporting vaccines to another 22 countries.

It is not that China has manufactured vaccines that are more than enough for its own use. It is because China knows well that as the world's second-largest economy, the country must fulfill its international responsibilities and do what it can to help others in need. It is also because China is clear that aiding those developing countries in desperate need of vaccines is also helping itself, for so far as the pandemic is concerned, no one will be safe until all are.

Just as the WHO head says: "This is not a matter of charity, it's a matter of epidemiology. Unless we end the pandemic everywhere, we will not end it anywhere.''

The international community has a shared future in this matter as the virus knows no borders.

Hopefully, the leaders of G7 countries mean what they said and they will accelerate and support "affordable and equitable access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19".

Only when vaccines are distributed in a fair manner in the way that is most effective to stop the spread of the virus will the fight against the pandemic see an end.

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