BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged that 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines would be supplied to the world through this year, increasing China’s commitment as the largest exporter of the shots.
Xi’s announcement was delivered late Thursday at a vaccine forum China hosted virtually.
The figure likely includes the 770 million doses China has already donated or exported already and it’s not clear if it includes a COVAX agreement for Chinese producers to supply 550 million doses.
Xi also promised to donate $100 million to the UN-backed COVAX program, which aims to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. Vaccine distributions have been starkly unequal, as wealthy countries now consider issuing booster shots to their citizens and poorer nations struggle to get enough vaccines for a first dose.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese shots, the vast majority of which are from Sinopharm and Sinovac, have already been administered to people in many countries across the world. However, there are concerns about whether they protect adequately against the new, highly transmissible delta variant.