China joins COVAX project promoted by WHO

Alex Azar

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Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained that the country signed a few hours ago an agreement with the Global Alliance for Vaccination (GAVI) on joining the project.

Beijing's latest bid to join the global fight against the coronavirus follows criticism over its handling of the pandemic, which has contributed to a growing unfavourable view of China in advanced nations, a recent survey showed.

Other drug makers such as GSK and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to not make any profits from the vaccines they develop.

The move also means China "will be procuring vaccines through the facility for a proportion of their own population, just as with other countries", a GAVI spokesman said.

The reason the doses would be available so quickly is the administration is investing in manufacturing and buying doses of vaccines before they are approved.

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China's decision to join the COVAX initiative could be prompted by a desire to earn some global goodwill at a time when it is facing intense criticism for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. United States president Donald Trump has said a number of times over the last few months that a vaccine for COVID-19 could come before election day, however with the White House endorsing the new FDA rules, this is now highly unlikely. China has the second-largest economy in the world.

According to the World Health Organization, countries should join the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) by September 18 but not later than October 9 with upfront payments.

The US could have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every American by March 2021, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

Beijing has put its support behind the COVAX programme that wants to make coronavirus doses available for rich and poor countries alike.

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Parents were also more willing to accept less rigorous testing if they were anxious that they had COVID-19 at the time they completed the survey.

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China has been eager to reshape the narrative, calling the virus a common challenge facing humanity, and even questioning its origin.

These vaccines will be delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritising healthcare workers then expanding to cover 20% of the population of participating countries.

What remains to be seen is how China will engage with the alliance, said Dr. Gagandeep Kang, the vice chair of the Board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, which is also involved in leading COVAX.

"As far as I know, many Chinese vaccine companies have expressed willingness to join, and technical experts from both sides are now in close communication about development, certification, supervision and other aspects", she said. In anticipation of development of a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, countries should be prepared with an efficient and coordinated strategy and plan for roll-out of vaccination. "For China it could be across the spectrum". The SEC also directed Bio E to provide "complete" non-clinical toxicity data from testing the vaccine on rabbits.

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