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The COVID-19 vaccine initiative known as COVAX got a boost Friday (Beijing time) when the Chinese foreign ministry announced that the country had officially joined the facility, Reuters reported.

What Happened: China is pledging support to the vaccine initiative which is focussed on low and middle-income countries.

The ministry didn’t comment on the size of its commitment but President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion in May to mitigate the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic globally over the next two years.

A Chinese government spokeswoman hoped that “more capable countries will also join and support COVAX,” as per Reuters.

Why It Matters: The World Health Organization-led COVAX has the goal to deliver almost two billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021, Reuters noted.

WHO has reportedly been negotiating with China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, while Russia and the U.S. have yet to join. 

China is set to expand its domestic vaccination program and thousands of people have already been administered Sinopharm Group’s (OTC: SHTDY) two vaccines, according to the Financial Times. Health experts claim that offering vaccinations to members of the public in China is “bizarre” and highly risky at this point.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of over 1 million people, as per the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Photo by Paul Kagame on Flickr

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