On 22 July 2021, the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) held the 3rd Exchange on the ASEAN-China Vaccine Friend Cooperation. Representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), National Health Commission, National Medical Products Administration, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCP) and vaccine manufacturers attended the meeting. Health officials and specialists from ASEAN Member States (AMS) and representatives from AMS embassies in China joined the exchange online.
Ms. Wang Hongliu, Director of the General Affairs and Coordination Division of ACC, chaired the exchange. She stated that 2021 marks the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations. ACC will continue to make unremitting efforts to play its bridging role in pushing forward public health cooperation in area such as vaccine between ASEAN and China.
Ms. Fang Hong, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs at MFA, said China has provided the largest number of vaccines to developing countries. As a friendly neighbour, China has always considered ASEAN and other neighbouring countries as priority partners for cooperation in combatting COVID-19. China is willing to collaborate with ASEAN in such areas as vaccine effectiveness monitoring and vaccine research and development. She also suggested to take full use of the “ASEAN-China Vaccine Friend” cooperation platform to deepen ASEAN-China public health cooperation and improve both sides’ response capacity for future public health crises.
Mr. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, highly recognized the positive role played by the “ASEAN-China Vaccine Friend” platform in promoting vaccine cooperation between the two sides. He pointed out that vaccine is currently the most effective weapon to deal with the pandemic and hopefully ASEAN and China will continue to advance and deepen cooperation in related fields, assist in increasing the vaccination rate of AMS, and safeguard the health and safety of people in the region.
Professor Gao Fu, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Director of the CCDCP, introduced the current situation of COVID-19 and China’s vaccine research, development and vaccination. He stressed that viruses are the common enemy of mankind and that all countries should work together in a scientific, open and transparent manner to tackle this challenge. China has made great contributions to the global fight against the pandemic since the outbreak of the disease. As a good partner and neighbour, China is willing to continue to collaborate closely with AMS to share experience and fight COVID-19. Professor Gao also made responses to vaccine-related questions raised on-site and online.
Representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore introduced their respective epidemic prevention policies and vaccination coverage, and exchanged views with Chinese experts. Full discussions on issues of common concern were conducted during the exchange, including vaccine effectiveness monitoring, research and development, target population, and the promotion and mutual recognition of vaccination. AMS representatives thanked China for having organized a series of such exchanges, and expressed their willingness to maintain close communication with China and jointly advance cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win results.