Sputnik said that the European Union has offered free COVID-19 vaccines to China to help stop the fast spread of the disease as Beijing gets ready to end strict border restrictions and open its borders.
EU officials told The Financial Times on Tuesday that the offer was made in the last few days before a meeting of EU health ministers on Tuesday. This was part of the European Commission’s response to a possible new wave of COVID-19 cases around the world after China ended its “zero-tolerance policy” toward the virus.
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Stella Kyriakides, the EU Health Commissioner, has reached out to her Chinese counterparts to show solidarity and support. She has offered public health advice and donations of EU vaccines that have been changed to fit local needs, an EU official was quoted as saying.
The official also said that the Chinese government has not yet answered the EU’s offer.
In November, there were a record number of COVID-19 outbreaks in China. Because the health situation was getting worse, the government put some areas on partial lockdown and made the people who lived there go through PCR testing every day.
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China said in December that it was giving up its “zero tolerance” policy for COVID-19 and getting ready to open its borders again in January. People in a country with 1.4 billion people worry that the end of strict measures that have been in place for almost three years could cause the disease to spread quickly around the world.
So far, the two main COVID-19 vaccines used in China are Sinovac and Sinopharm, both of which are made in China and are inactive. Western experts say that the fact that China doesn’t have any mass-use mRNA vaccines could be why the country hasn’t done much to stop the pandemic so far.
Late in December, the World Health Organization said that the number of people getting vaccinated in China is not enough and that more needs to be done to stop the spread of the virus.