Islamabad: The coronavirus pandemic has shattered the economies of many countries around the world. In such circumstances, the world needs a success story to assure that the virus is containable and Covid-19 can be curbed. China introduced the world’s first coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan city, and succeeded in containing the spread of the virus.
In early 2020, when several developing countries were struggling to acquire masks, corona test kits and other necessary equipment for protection, China extended aid and support to them in good will. Pakistan was one of the countries that received adequate assistance from China at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the race to produce Covid-19 vaccines started, Sinopharm was amongst the leading firms to successfully develop and conduct clinical trials. China has developed several vaccines and now four distinct brands of them are available for local populations and abroad.
China has shown generosity and has taken lead by its anti-epidemic cooperation with the rest of the world.
“China has been promoting vaccines as a global public good and improving its accessibility and affordability in developing countries,” Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the fourth session of the 13th National People’s Congress was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying.
China has provided vaccine assistance to over 69 countries and has promised to provide 10 million doses of domestic vaccines to the COVAX initiative to meet the urgent needs of developing countries. According to Zhang Yesui, over 40 countries have imported or are in talks to import vaccines from China, most of which are developing nations.
Pakistan received its first doses of the coronavirus vaccines in February when China donated half-a-million Sinopharm vaccines to the country. At present, the frontline healthcare workers are receiving the vaccines while people above the age of 60 will start receiving the jabs from March 10.
Beijing has also encouraged Chinese enterprises to cooperate with relevant countries in vaccine research, development and production.
In September 2020, Pakistan started Phase III trials of CanSino vaccine developed by CanSino Biologic Company of China. Around 18,000 volunteers took part in the trials that concluded successfully and now the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved the vaccines for emergency use in the country. Pakistan also expects technology transfer from China for the production of Cansino vaccine in the future.
According to Zhang Yesui, concrete efforts from the global community are needed for the promotion of equitable distribution and use of vaccines and to ensure that safe and effective vaccines are available and affordable to developing countries. The baseless claim that China exports Covid-19 vaccines to expand geopolitical influence is nothing else but narrow-mindedness.