Coronavirus: what China’s decision to join the WHO’s vaccine scheme means

Coronavirus: what China’s decision to join the WHO’s vaccine scheme means

China’s decision to join the World Health Organization’s vaccine distribution scheme will help it play a bigger role in the global endeavour to stop a virus that has already killed over a million people worldwide.

The decision – announced on Friday – offers a sharp contrast with the United States, which has rejected the proposal in favour of financing its own set of vaccine candidates and securing doses through bilateral deals.

“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,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, noting that China has decided to join despite “leading the world with several vaccines in advanced stages”.

The move was welcomed by Seth Berkley, the chief executive of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a WHO partner leading the initiative, who said it “gives even more momentum to our mission to ensure future Covid-19 vaccines are distributed equitably”.