by Raheela Nazir
China has been playing a greater role in ensuring a fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the globe especially for developing countries, with a noble concept of building a global community of health for all, said a Pakistani academic.
China recently announced to strive to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world throughout this year and offer 100 million U.S. dollars to COVAX, which is commendable and reflects China's commitment to global anti-pandemic fight, Professor Nadeem Irfan Bukhari, dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, University of the Punjab, Pakistan, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Pakistan has received its first batch of over 970,000 doses of Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine this week provided by China through the COVAX facility, while more are expected to come in the near future.
China has helped many countries including Pakistan since the outbreak of the pandemic, Bukhari said, adding that the vaccines and other medical supplies provided by China have effectively supported the Pakistani government's anti-pandemic efforts.
He said that the recent supply of Chinese vaccine through the COVAX facility to the country will further boost national vaccination drive amid its efforts to counter the fourth wave of COVID-19 owing to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
The academic said that China has set a precedent for other countries to extend a helping hand too in the battle against the pandemic.
Through these contributions and others, China is proving that the country is a responsible stakeholder of the international community by showing willingness to deepen international cooperation to combat COVID-19 and beefing up its role in providing global public goods, most importantly COVID-19 vaccines that the world urgently needs at the moment, he said.
"These steps are clear manifestation of Chinese will and determination to play a responsible role internationally."
Bukhari believes that the role of China is even more critical at the time when some countries have adopted a selfish strategy of vaccine nationalism and even put restrictions on export of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical supplies amid still-raging pandemic.
"China has a bigger role to play in improving initiatives like COVAX and providing greater access to vaccines to the developing world," he said, adding that only sincere efforts on global level will rescue the world from the pandemic, as no one will be safe until everyone is safe.