China's COVID-19 vaccine makers apply to join COVAX scheme

COVAX scheme - led by the World Health Organization and GAVI vaccine alliance - is due to start rolling out vaccines to poor and middle-income countries in February

  
A medical worker prepares to administer a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to a man at a vaccination site, during a government-organised visit, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, China January 19, 2021.

A medical worker prepares to administer a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to a man at a vaccination site, during a government-organised visit, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, China January 19, 2021.

Reuters/Aly Song

BEIJING - China said on Wednesday three drugmakers had submitted applications to supply their COVID-19 vaccines to global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX in the country's first formal move to provide locally developed shots to the initiative.

Sinovac Biotech, China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and CanSino Biologics have filed applications to join the scheme, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference on Wednesday.

The COVAX scheme - led by the World Health Organization and GAVI vaccine alliance - is due to start rolling out vaccines to poor and middle-income countries in February, with 2 of 3 billion doses expected to be delivered this year. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that vaccine nationalism had put the world on the brink of "catastrophic moral failure," and urged countries and manufacturers to spread doses more fairly around the world.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman) ((LunTian.Yew@thomsonreuters.com;))

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