China and Russia to ensure global access to Covid-19 vaccines
This is particularly relevant in a world where as little as ten countries control 75% of all vaccine supply, while many parts of the planet haven’t seen a single dose.
To ensure equal access to vaccination, the People’s Republic of China pledged to provide 10 million Covid-19 shots to developing nations through COVAX – a global vaccine-sharing initiative backed by the World Health Organization. As of today, China has donated vaccines to 69 nations and has started exporting doses to 43 countries. In addition, it has contributed a share of its vaccine supply to the UN peacekeeping force and is ready to provide vaccinations to to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic athletes.
According to Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, the country’s Covid-19 vaccines are being produced by 18 pharmaceutical companies all across China. Two billion doses are expected by the end of this year, and over four billion by the end of 2022 next year. China’s vaccine is also being produced abroad, in Brazil and Serbia.
“China’s production capacity is expanding, the output of our vaccine manufacturers will continue to increase, as will our shipments, both domestically and abroad,” said Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Tian Yulong. “I believe that China’s high-quality and safe vaccines will be welcomed by more countries and we are willing to make more efforts in this regard,” he added.
Russia is currently rolling out three vaccines: Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has received orders for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine from more than 50 countries. It is currently being produced in South Korea, India, Brazil, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Their total expected output is 1.4 billion doses, which will allow to vaccinate 700 million people to be vaccinated.
Companies from Russia and China are also engaged in the joint development of Covid-19 vaccines. Specifically, Russia’s Petrovax and China’s CanSino Biologics jointly submitted the AD5-nCoV vaccine for approval with the Russian Ministry of Health. Currently, the vaccine is in phase three of clinical trials. After approval, the vaccine will be produced at the Petrovax facility in the Moscow Rregion, with the projected output of over 160 million doses pera year.
China and Russia are unanimously opposed to the idea of politicization of Covid-19 vaccines, as well as 'vaccine nationalism.' Recently, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Moscow will not participate in any political 'races' when it comes to international cooperation on Covid-19 vaccination. To overcome this pandemic and restore the global economy, the international community must act as one and coordinate its efforts, she added.
Speaking before the UN Security Council, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that, when providing its vaccines to the world, China has never pursued any geopolitical goals, sought any economic advantage over others or put any political conditions on the recipients. On the sidelines of a recent session of the National People's Congress, China's top diplomat stressed that the PRC opposes the idea of 'vaccine nationalism,' seeks to prevent unfair distribution of vaccines and – even more importantly – blocks all attempts to politicize cooperation in this area. “We hope that Covid-19 vaccines will become an asset available to all nations,” the Minister said.
On March 12, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian announced that China will be collaborating with Russia to promote global cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. "We will work together to create a global community of shared healthcare,” the diplomat stressed.