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China Joins COVAX But Experts Doubt Its Ability To Produce Enough Doses For Useful Export

Scientists raised questions whether China will be able to produce enough COVID-19 vaccine doses even if the vaccine is ready by the end of the year


As the list of countries with which China has promised to share its Coronavirus vaccines continues to grow, scientists raised questions on whether it will be able to produce enough doses even if the vaccine is ready soon. China on Sunday, October 11, announced that it is joining the Covid-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX and the country has signed an agreement with GAVI, the co-leader of the alliance, according to reports. So far China has four coronavirus vaccine candidates in stage 3 clinical trials.

According to an official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an effective coronavirus vaccine may be available by the end of the year. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that China has joined the GAVI alliance to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. The country taking the concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX, she said, according to news agency Associated Press.

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The COVAX alliance, together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO, is aiming to provide 2 billion doses of vaccine to the most vulnerable people in poor countries, the report said. However, the country’s drug regulator would need to wait until the data proves that the vaccines are safe and effective before granting them full approval.

Zheng Zhongwei, the head of the Chinese government’s COVID-19 vaccine task force said China will have the capacity to produce 600 million vaccine doses by the end of the year, and one billion next year. Adding further Zhongwei said 1.4 billion people in the country are unvaccinated and there would not be many doses left for export.

Besides the mismatch of demand and supply another problem of approval by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) continues. If China pledges doses of vaccines to the rest of the countries the country needs approval by these organisations. Currently not one of the four leading vaccine candidates from China are on the list of vaccines supported by the CEPI, according to reports.

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(With agency inputs)

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