South Africa Needs To Address Vaccine Shortage In Joint Collaboration With China To Combat Pandemic

China's President Xi Jinping talks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa after their media conference in Pretoria, South Africa, July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings - RC1F4D3202D0
China’s Sinovac

By Guan Jintai

Latest statistics on the covid-19 pandemic in South Africa indicate that the country is in a critical situation. With 3754 newly confirmed cases everyday and with the infection rate going up from 4% in April to 11% in May, there is a compelling need for urgent action.

South Africa once rested her hope on the western made vaccines, but Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer had delayed their delivery date again and again owing to some supervisory problems with the American factories. This has become a major reason leading to the vaccine shortage crisis and critically pandemic situation in South Africa. As for the disturbance in combating the pandemic due to the delay, Dr. Kenny Jacobs, a qualified doctor and also congress member, said the United States, as a big country, should undertake its due responsibilities in providing vaccine for the international community.

As a member of medical committee under the national congress in South Africa, Dr Jacobs has been committing himself to the prevention and control of the pandemic. He said that South Africa, as a responsible country, had not only established a professional institute to cope with the pandemic, but also had issued a series of policies, including alcohol prohibition and social distancing.

At present, South Africa is striving to react to the pandemic and adopting flexible administrations so as to revive its economy. He said that he was so impressed by the hard work of medical staff during the pandemic.

According to an official document, the WHO has validated Sinovac vaccine for emergency use on 1 June, 2021. There are now two Chinese vaccines–Sinovac and Sinopharm group gaining the approval of the WHO. A report released by Institute Butantan in St. Paul, Brazil has proved the sinovac vaccine to be effective in preventing the virus in Brazil, England and the variable virus in South Africa.

When it comes to international cooperation in vaccine, Dr. Jacob said no solutions would be overlooked by South Africa. As for the choice of vaccine, he pointed out that South Africa wishes to make mass supply of the vaccine at affordable price possible. Besides, as long as it was proved to be effective and no side effects, people should get vaccinated. He stressed that China and South Africa were both BRICS members with a close bilateral ties, the two parties should have more cooperation in different fields, he added.

Wang Wenbin, the spokesman of the ministry of foreign affairs of China, says China has successfully provided over 350 million doses vaccines for the international community, which includes international aid to over 80 countries and export to more than 40 countries. Chinese vaccines have been proved to be safe and reliable, and China has made a practical contribution to making covid-19 vaccine equal and available in many developing countries.

According to an exciting news, Chinese vaccines has now entered the security assessment procedure in South Africa and South Africans have welcomed WHO’s validation of the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use. And what is important now is to get the Health Products Regulatory Authority of South Africa consider importing Sinovac vaccine.

Guan Jintai is a journalist based in Beijing.


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