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Commentary: Unite for safe, effective, affordable COVID-19 vaccines

N.C.N. Limited 徽标 N.C.N. Limited 2020/10/23 Guo Ying,Quan Xiaoshu,Li Zhihui,Jiang Jiang
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A staff member displays samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at Sinovac Biotech Ltd., in Beijing, capital of China, March 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- As the so-called "herd immunity" theory is proved unscientific and new research suggests risks of reinfection with COVID-19, the world is pinning high hopes on the COVID-19 vaccines, an ultimate solution to win the final victory over the pandemic.

Vaccinating the world against COVID-19 will be one of the largest mass undertakings in human history, and equitably sharing vaccines is the fastest way to safeguard high-risk communities, stabilize health systems, and drive a global economic recovery.

To achieve that goal, 184 countries and economies have joined COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure effective and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

China, with four vaccine candidates entering phase-3 clinical trials and self-sufficient in vaccine production, has joined the collective program.

According to the National Health Commission, China's total annual production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines will likely reach 610 million doses by the end of the year and continue to expand next year to meet the demand for COVID-19 vaccines in China and other countries.

China values safety in the process of vaccine development. A total of about 60,000 volunteers have been given Chinese COVID-19 vaccines as part of international phase-3 clinical trials, with no severe side-effects reported.

The country's National Medical Products Administration has made it clear that vaccines will only be approved to enter the market for mass application when the phase-3 clinical trials prove their protective efficacy is up to standard.

To protect the lives and health of essential workers like medical professionals, customs officers, and staff in public services as well as other high-risk groups, China launched the emergency use of vaccines.

The emergency vaccination plan has been strictly reviewed and is conducted in accordance with related laws and regulations. The emergency use meets the relevant rules of the WHO and has won the organization's understanding and support.

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An exhibitor shows a 3D model of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine antigen to visitors at the booth of SINOVAC in the special area for public health and epidemic prevention in the comprehensive exhibition area of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Under close monitoring, no serious adverse reactions have been reported among those who received emergency inoculation, and infections have not been reported either.

Safe and effective vaccines should be available to all, not exclusively to large and wealthy countries.

According to Zheng Zhongwei, an official of the National Health Commission, China will provide vaccines to the world at a fair and reasonable price. China also strives to promote the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries through aid or other means.

The fight against COVID-19 has proved that the world is intertwined. As the development of vaccines offers a ray of hope, international cooperation should be strengthened, with vaccine experts in close communication regarding the vaccine R&D, certification, regulation, and other technical standards.

As the epidemic has been under control in China, the country does not have large-scale samples for clinical trials, and its phase-3 trials need to be carried out overseas. China's vaccine development pools global strengths and China will share its results globally.

No nation could stay free of COVID-19 alone, and therefore it is unwise for capable countries to reserve vaccine resources only for themselves.

It is high time that we should guard against "vaccine nationalism" and "exceptionalism" and build a shared community of health for all. United we stand. 

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