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China's Xi Jinping pledged to work with other countries to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/21/2020 (Matthew DeBord)
Xi Jinping wearing a suit and tie: Chinese President Xi Jinping. Noel Celis - Pool/Getty Images © Noel Celis - Pool/Getty Images Chinese President Xi Jinping. Noel Celis - Pool/Getty Images

At the G20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabi, President Xi Jinping of China said that his country was prepared to intensify cooperation on a global effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19.

The G20 Summit of the world's largest developed economies is being held virtually this year, so Xi's comments were relayed to the attendees by video, Reuters reported.

Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as Moderna, have in the past two weeks announced vaccines that the companies maintain could be more than 90% effective in fighting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which has forced shutdowns and plunged economies into recessions. 

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The companies have completed late-stage trials and are now seeking rapid approvals to begin shipping the vaccines to healthcare providers. China has three vaccines of its own in development, undergoing Phase III trials, Reuters reported.

The virus originally appeared in China in 2019. A massive government effort to contain its spread was largely successful, but the coronavirus reached Europe, the United States, and other countries in 2020. After retreating during the summer, it has surged back alongside colder weather in the northern hemisphere.

But with light at the end of the tunnel, nations are beginning to focus on how to best distribute the new vaccines.

"China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research and development, production, and distribution," Xi said, according to Reuters. "We will fulfill our commitments, offer help and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and can afford."

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