Coronavirus latest: China’s Sinovac and others apply to join COVAX

Coronavirus latest: China’s Sinovac and others apply to join COVAX

India begins vaccine exports to Bhutan and Maldives; Beijing to shut down subway station

Wednesday, Jan. 20 (Tokyo time)

7:25 p.m. Japan has reached an agreement to obtain enough Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses for 72 million people this year, on top of supplies for 60 million people already agreed upon.

Meanwhile, encouraging new lab results show the Pfizer vaccine likely works on the more infectious coronavirus variant first found in the U.K., Reuters reports, backing up promising findings from last week. 

5:12 p.m. India begins export of COVID-19 vaccines to “neighboring and key partner countries” by dispatching the first consignments to Bhutan and the Maldives. It will also soon send supply to four more countries — Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and the Seychelles — the foreign ministry said, adding it is waiting for regulatory clearance confirmation from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius. “India is deeply honored to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted ahead of the vaccine dispatches.

5:09 p.m. Chinese coronavirus vaccine developers Sinovac, Sinopharm and Cansino Bio have applied to join COVAX, a global framework backed by the World Health Organization, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says. The WHO describes the program as “the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.”