China fills Vaccine gap left by US, India


BEIJING: The grave epidemic situation in India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, the WHO’s approval of Chinese vaccines for emergency use, lingering questions on whether the US can really deliver its promise to provide vaccines to the world, all these have led to a widely acknowledged situation that China could be a much more reliable global vaccine supplier, especially as domestic vaccine producers vowed to ramp up production to meet domestic immunity targets and overseas demand.
After the WHO approved the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use, Yang Xiaoming, chairman of Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG), said in a recent interview with Chinese media outlets that the Chinese vaccine manufacturer has been ramping up efforts to expand production capacity in the third-phase of production to 3 billion doses per year.
With accelerating inoculation pace in China, which has reached 10 million doses per day, the country has administered over 300 million doses domestically, and Yang believes the immune barrier of 1 billion people can be achieved by around the end of 2021 or the start of next year.
Another major vaccine producer in China, Sinovac, is aiming to reach an annual capacity of 2 billion, according to media reports.
Vaccines are believed to be the best way to overcome COVID-19, with which cross-border travel is expected to resume gradually and normal life restored. Some media outlets called it “the biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway,” and according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, China has surpassed the US in the daily rate of doses administered and topped the list by about 6.7 million doses administered every day, though the average inoculation rate remained lower at 11.3 percent.
Chinese-made vaccines are expected to play a bigger role in supplying other countries, especially as the world’s largest vaccine producer India faces a shortfall. After the Biden administration announced its support to waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines, t conflicting views emerged among industry representatives who said such a move may damage US competitive advantage. Questions are thus raised as to whether the US could really play a more active role in global vaccine supply, according to media reports.
China has exported half of its produced vaccines, while the US and the UK have exported very few doses, roughly 1 to 3 percent of the total doses, respectively, according to a graphic of the Global Times. The EU and India have exported less than half of the overall vaccines made locally, the graphic showed.
Earlier media reports said China had exported 240 million doses of vaccines, making it the world’s top exporter, and the number is expected to grow as Chinese manufacturers transferred their production lines and technologies to more developing countries, actively working with the UN-backed COVAX initiative in making the vaccines “global public goods” with the aim of ensuring vaccine distribution equity.
China will continue working with the international community in pushing forward fair access to vaccines in developing countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press conference on Monday, in response to the WHO approval of the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use.
China has already announced to provide 10 million doses of vaccines for COVAX for emergency use in developing countries, and China puts its words into action, Hua said, adding that the country is currently keeping close communication with the WHO on the matter.
China has provided the largest amount of vaccines to developing countries, Hua said, noting that the country has provided vaccine aid to more than 80 countries, exported vaccines to over 50 countries in order to eliminate the immunity gap.
Rather than only exporting vaccines, Chinese producers like Sinovac have been working with other countries to localize vaccine production – an effective way to ensure local supply.
– The Daily Mail-Global Times News exchange item