At the end of 2020, one of China's self-developed COVID-19 vaccines was granted conditional approval for general use by the National Medical Products Administration. Previously, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had already greenlit the vaccine. After China's official approval, over a dozen countries from different continents signed purchase agreements with China for the vaccine.
Since the initial outbreak, scientists around the world have been working to develop an effective vaccine. Various approaches have been adopted, such as mRNA vaccines, inactivated vaccines, and adenovirus vector vaccines. The mRNA vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was approved in the U.K. and U.S. in December 2020. The adenovirus vector vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca has not long since been rolled out. China's recently approved vaccine is inactivated, which is a mature technique, thus making it relatively safe. Without special requirements for transportation or storage, the vaccine's cost is lower, meaning it is more affordable.
Recent news on the virus mutating makes achieving herd immunity via vaccination all the more important. As such, the Chinese government has promised to provide vaccines free of charge to all Chinese people.
The approval and future use of China's inactivated vaccine has been made possible only through international cooperation. The phase 3 clinical trials, for instance, were conducted in countries including the UAE and Argentina. Now China is speeding up vaccine production, working to make them a global public good, while being more accessible and affordable. In the future, China will actively provide vaccines to developing countries, including through donations, which is in line with China's joining of COVAX.
Many foreign media outlets have continued to link vaccine development with political purposes, and have disparaged China's vaccines. In fact, research and development into COVID-19 vaccines is not a case of companies or countries competing against one another. Faced with the virus, humanity should work together to seek solutions to this common challenge.
Any effective vaccine would mark a victory for global public health and all humanity. China will continue to work with other countries on vaccine development, share knowledge and experience in fighting the pandemic, and overcome the challenge.
News report by China.org.cn on China's COVID-19 vaccines