Have you gotten vaccinated? This has been a common question in China since the country rolled out mass COVID-19 vaccinations in December 2020.
According to China Daily, China plans to vaccinate 40 percent of its population by June, with vaccine capacity reaching 2.1 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, China has reached out to other countries in need.
The country is exporting COVID-19 vaccines to 27 countries and providing free vaccine aid to 53 countries, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Feb 23. Vaccine aid from China has arrived in countries including Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Sebastian Pinera, president of Chile, both received China’s COVID-19 vaccination, encouraging members of their respective countries to do the same.
“China’s role in the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has been significant,” said Rasmus Bech Hansen, head of British research firm Airfinity.
However, global vaccination is currently highly unbalanced, Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infectious Disease at the Huashan Hospital of Fudan University, said at a forum on March 1. Full vaccine coverage can be achieved only in the United States, Europe and a few other countries, such as China and Russia.
In reaching wide vaccine coverage, small and medium-sized developing nations could end up a year behind larger developing nations and developed countries, according to the World Bank. This is because wealthier nations have reserved so many doses of Western vaccines for their own citizens. Some countries even ordered vaccines for two or three times the nation’s population, The Washington Post reported.
For those countries that have not yet secured a vaccine, China may be the only solution, AP noted. China is one of the few nations that can manufacture vaccines on a large scale.
What’s more, China has joined COVAX, a mechanism organized by the World Health Organization to make sure that all members get the vaccine in the future. China has decided to offer 10 million vaccines to COVAX, Xinhua reported.
“We must ensure that no country in need of the vaccines is left behind and no individuals waiting for vaccines are neglected,” said Foreign Minister Wang Yi, noting nothing matters more than the people and nothing is more valuable than human lives.