Olaf Scholz set to send China its first foreign Covid vaccine
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China is set to receive its first foreign Covid vaccines following a deal agreed with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Germany has sent its first batch of BioNTech vaccines to be initially administrated to German nationals in China, a German government spokesperson said on Wednesday.
However, no details were available in relation to the timing and size of the delivery.
It comes after China allowed German nationals in China to get the vaccine following a deal made during Mr Scholz’s visit to Beijing last month.
The German leader also pressed Beijing to ensure that the shot was freely available to Chinese citizens as well.
In a letter to German citizens in China, the government said it would provide basic immunisations and booster shots approved for use in the EU to anyone over 12 years of age.
However family members of other nationalities would not be included.
There is the possibility that vaccinations for children under the age of 12 will follow at later date.
Speaking to journalists in Berlin, the spokesperson said that a plan to vaccinate non-German citizens was being developed.
They said: “We are working on the possibility that besides Germans also other foreigners can be vaccinated with BioNTech.”
They added that in return, Chinese citizens in Europe can be vaccinated with China’s SinoVac vaccine.
Speaking to Reuters, a source said that the vaccines will be delivered to German companies in China along with diplomatic locations.
The sourced added that talks with other EU governments about getting the shots to other nationalities are already underway.
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However they also clarified that China would need to approve expanding access beyond German nationals.
So far throughout the pandemic Beijing has relied on domestically produced vaccines, not based on western mRNA technology and considered less effective by some experts.
China’s health system is struggling to cope with a surge in Covid cases amid the dismantling of the dynamic Zero covid policy where authorities attempting to eliminate all community transition rather than simply preventing health systems being overwhelmed.
According to experts China could be facing a million Covid deaths in the next year.
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