China said on Friday it has joined a global COVID-19 vaccine initiative co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), becoming the biggest economy to date to pledge support to help buy and distribute the shots fairly, reported Reuters.
A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday did not give details on the level of support Beijing will provide to the programme, known as COVAX, though President Xi Jinping pledged in May $2 billon over the next two years to help deal with the pandemic that has claimed more than 1 million lives to date, says Reuters.
“We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in the statement.
The COVAX initiative aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021. China joins some 168 countries that have already announced their participation in COVAX including 76 wealthy, self-financing ones. But neither the United States nor Russia have joined the programme.