Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech at a virtual global vaccine summit on June 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that China will continue to support the core role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in coordinating vaccine research, while making its contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
Li made the remarks in a speech at a virtual global vaccine summit, which was held to raise funds for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), with a view to ensuring vaccine accessibility worldwide. In particular, funds will be directed to accelerating research, development, production and distribution of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Leaders from more than 30 countries and heads of international organizations, including the United Nations and the WHO, attended the summit.
Li said that, in dealing with the COVID-19 infection, China has put people's lives first, effectively containing the epidemic by making arduous efforts.
However, the pandemic is not over, said Li, adding that no country is immune from the virus, and that the health and safety of the various populations are closely connected.
Li said that, at the opening of the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) last month, China proposed building a global community of health for all, and put forward suggestions and measures to promote global cooperation in COVID-19 response. He added that China would continue to provide assistance, within its capacity, to help with COVID-19 response and social and economic recovery in affected countries, especially developing nations.
Li said that the challenges remain severe, with vaccines representing a strong shield to defend against the virus. He pointed out that China will continue to promote clinical trials in multiple centers, and facilitate market entrance as soon as possible, once the goals of research and development have been accomplished, so as to provide the world with a safe, effective and high-quality global public good.
Noting that China has been stepping up scientific research on COVID-19 vaccines, medicines, and testing reagents, Li said China attaches great importance to international cooperation in vaccine research and development.
China recently participated in the European Union (EU) COVID-19 online pledging conference, and is willing to continue to strengthen relevant cooperation with all parties, Li said.
GAVI has maintained good cooperation with China and has invested in supporting China's vaccination and international applications, said Li. He expressed the Chinese government's willingness to contribute to GAVI's funding cycle, encourage China's R&D institutions and vaccine manufacturers to strengthen collaboration with the GAVI, and support GAVI's important role in promoting the use of vaccines.
"We hope to work together to overcome the epidemic as soon as possible," Li said.