Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Friday that Beijing had formally signed up to the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, an worldwide initiative co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), which aims to provide equitable access to safe and effective coronavirus vaccines.
To date, China has not yet published any late-stage information about any of its vaccine candidates, despite starting to use some more broadly in targeted populations.
"China now has four Phase 3 vaccine trials ongoing". What we're doing right now is looking at the range of storage conditions for the vaccines to build three purpose-built walk-in chillers, to keep them off site, backed up with solar energy and diesel. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I. "This unique vaccine and manufacturing capability will be significant additions to COVAX", said Ding.
Earlier on Friday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced the country had signed an agreement with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to officially join the global vaccine alliance.
Coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, COVAX aims to have two billion doses of Covid-19 available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers. The COVAX facility seeks to accelerate the development and production of coronavirus vaccines through pooling in resources from the member countries, and then ensure that it is equitably distributed amongst them.
The initiative is designed so that richer countries agree to buy into potential vaccines and help finance access for poorer ones, but critical questions remain about how its goal will be carried out.
It targets to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021.
The United States, the world's largest economy, declined to join under President Donald Trump, saying COVAX was "influenced by the corrupt WHO and China".
"We don't know which one will be successful and also at what efficacy yet".
A successful vaccine candidate from China could help it fix its reputation overseas.
Overall, the study found that more than half (52%) of fathers were likely to suggest modifying the approval standards, while a greater proportion of mothers were in support of continuing the current vaccine development and regulatory process.
A worker feeds vials for production of SARS CoV-2 Vaccine for COVID-19 at the SinoVac vaccine factory in Beijing.
The vaccine, first licensed by Russian authorities for domestic use in August, is now being tested on 40,000 volunteers in Moscow as part of a late-stage trial known as Phase III.
Ding said it remains unclear whether the US would join the initiative in the future.