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A foreigner receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
More than 200,000 foreigners in China have received COVID-19 vaccinations as Beijing made efforts to guarantee the work, life and study of foreigners in the nation and build an effective shield from the virus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday.
"The Chinese government attaches great importance to safeguarding their safety and health," Wang told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
According to the spokesman, China has included foreign nationals within a certain age group into the country's vaccination program, and various measures have been rolled out to facilitate their vaccination in China.
Meanwhile, more than 1.18 million Chinese citizens in over 150 foreign countries have been vaccinated so far, as China actively assisted and secured COVID-19 inoculation for its citizens with Chinese or foreign vaccines, Wang said.
In the next step, China will continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with relevant countries in order to provide more assistance to its citizens in receiving vaccinations, he said.
As China honors its commitment to make vaccines a global public good, it has provided vaccine assistance to over 80 countries, exported vaccines to 40 countries and provided 350 million doses to international partners.
Last week, the first batch of vaccines to be provided to COVAX, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, rolled off the production line and will mainly be provided to developing countries.
"Now, a large number of developing countries are still facing difficulties in obtaining vaccines and fighting the pandemic," Wang said, adding that China will continue its efforts to eliminate the "vaccine divide".
The spokesman also called for international solidarity against the virus, saying that China hopes that major countries in vaccine research, development and production will support COVAX with practical measures so that developing countries are able to afford and access vaccines at an early date.
In response to media reports that the administration of United States President Joe Biden has purchased 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to donate to COVAX, Wang said, "We hope the US side will act as soon as possible."