China's top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan has called for global solidarity and cooperation to fight against COVID-19 and prevent the next pandemic.
Zhong, a member of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), made the comments during a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
He said that, in July 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the establishment of the IPPPR to evaluate the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic under the organization's leadership.
The COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented, said Zhong, adding that the IPPPR aims to learn lessons from the global health emergency and make suggestions for the future.
On May 12, the panel released a report, pointing out the existing gaps and possible solutions for priority areas in pandemic prevention and response.
Building herd immunity through widespread vaccination is an important link in current epidemic control, said Zhong, but vaccines are not currently distributed fairly.
The report urges making COVID-19 vaccines global public goods. High-income countries should contribute to the COVAX Facility, which aims to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to low-to-middle-income countries, according to the report.
The report also urges vaccine producing countries to provide vaccine licenses and technology transfers to ensure adequate and fair vaccine supplies.