Major countries must shoulder their responsibilities, take the lead to provide COVID-19 vaccines for low-and middle-income countries, and help them foster production capacity as the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading around the globe, said Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang on Tuesday.
"As the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading around the globe, we are facing a very severe situation. Therefore, it is pressing to ensure ample supply and fair distribution of vaccines," said Qin.
As representative of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Qin made the remarks when he attended the Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 Omicron Variant hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The meeting, joined by several foreign ministers and representatives of regional organizations, discussed issues such as the global impact of and response to the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
China has been working hard to make COVID-19 vaccines global public goods, and help meet the vaccination targets of the World Health Organization, said Qin.
According to the ambassador, up till now, China has provided nearly 2 billion doses of vaccines for more than 120 countries and international organizations, making China the largest supplier of vaccines to other countries.
On top of the 100 million U.S. dollars of donation to COVAX, China has pledged to donate an additional 100 million doses of vaccines to fellow developing countries, and provide another 1 billion doses of vaccines to Africa.
Now for the 5.6 billion shots of COVID-19 vaccines administered outside China, one third of them were provided by China, said Qin.
Calling on the international community to fight the pandemic together, the ambassador said, "We must oppose disinformation and vaccine discrimination, and raise the vaccination rate."
China will continue to work with the international community to advance international cooperation on COVID-19, narrow the global "immunity gap" and jointly build a global community of health for all, said Qin.
Noting that Omicron variant poses a new challenge to Beijing Winter Olympic Games, he said, "China will take more effective measures to protect athletes and guests of all countries. We are confident to host a streamlined, safe and splendid Winter Olympics."