China’s President Xi Jinping on Monday said China will provide an additional one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa to help the continent achieve its target of immunizing 60% of its population by 2022.The offer is in addition to nearly 200 million doses Beijing provided to Africa, where vaccination rates have fallen behind amid growing concern over the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
“We need to put people and their lives first, be guided by science, support waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, and truly ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa to bridge the immunization gap,” Xi said in his opening speech at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
According to Xi, Beijing will give 600 million doses in the form of donation. The remaining 400 million doses will be provided through joint vaccine production between Chinese and African firms.
China will also help African countries implement 10 health programs and dispatch 1,500 medical workers and public health experts to the continent, Xi said in his speech delivered via video link.