China said on Friday that it has joined the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX international initiative which aims to ensure equitable global access to vaccines against the novel coronavirus.
China said it joined the global initiative to make its vaccines a global good and make them available to developing countries on a priority.
"Even when China is leading the world with several vaccines in advanced stages of R&D and with ample production capacity, it still decided to join COVAX," said China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.
"To that end, we have solemnly pledged to make #vaccines developed and deployed by China a global public good, which will be provided to developing countries as a priority, she said.
COVAX has been created to maximise the chances of successfully developing COVID-19 vaccines and manufacture them in the quantities needed to end this crisis.
Coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, COVAX aims to have two billion doses of Covid-19 available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers.
"China will also strengthen vaccine cooperation with relevant countries through the COVAX network," the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
China joining the network will be huge boost to the initiative as the US had earlier said it would not participate in the scheme.
Along with US and Russia, China was absent from list of 156 countries that signed up by September 18 deadline to join the COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan, South China Morning Post reported.