Global Health Forum

Forum stresses joint COVID efforts

By  XIE CHUANJIAO and DING YUANYUAN in Qingdao | China Daily | Updated:2021-06-05

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A sub-forum focusing on research and development, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines is held during the second Conference of Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Top officials from governments and international organizations as well as health experts have reemphasized their joint efforts in fighting COVID-19 worldwide, especially in terms of ensuring equal access to vaccinations and criticizing politicization of the virus, at a recent high-profile event in Qingdao, Shandong province.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said low and middle-income countries have access to less than 17 percent of the world's vaccines despite the fact that they account for around half of the world's population.

"Vaccine equity is not charity. It's investing in ending the pandemic, restoring confidence and driving a truly global recovery," Tedros said during the 2nd Conference of Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia, which concluded on Friday.

Li Bin, vice-chairperson of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, called for unity and cooperation from countries worldwide to build a global community of health.

China always places high importance on the life and health of its people and has supported global cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic while properly coping with the domestic contagion situation, Li said.

The international community should make unremitting efforts to enhance the public health system, uphold multilateralism in improving global health governance and make basic medical and health services fair and accessible, Li added.

In a sub-forum at the event focusing on research and development, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines, Shao Yiming, chief expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said a barrier of immunity can be built only after a substantial proportion of people worldwide has been vaccinated.

He added that global cooperation is urgent and a fair attitude toward vaccines in all countries is necessary.

According to official data, China has provided more than 350 million doses of vaccines to the international community, including vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccine exports to more than 40 nations.

Liu Jingzhen, chairman of China National Pharmaceutical Group, or Sinopharm, said the group has the capacity to provide more than one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world beyond China in the second half of this year.

Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, president of the Global Health Forum and former director-general of the WHO, said development and safety are expected for people around the global in the process of fighting the pandemic, adding that people's lives and health are priorities amid public health emergencies.

Chan said it is disrespectful to all humanity for some countries to hype the origins of the novel coronavirus.

In the past 40 years, the world has seen a growing number of new diseases, with a majority of them derived from animals, including Ebola, SARS, MERS and bird flu, Chan said.

She said the whole world is interested in the origin of the conoravirus, noting that the WHO had sent a team of experts to Wuhan in March, Hubei province, to carry out a detailed investigation and issued a report.

"I participated in the news conference on the investigation and listened carefully to opinions from experts," Chan said, adding that she agreed with the conclusions.

Hosted by the Boao Forum for Asia and the Shandong Provincial People's Government, the 2nd Conference of Global Health Forum was held both online and offline. It included an opening ceremony, two general meetings, 33 sub-forums and 15 key activities.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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