China offers 2 billion jabs and calls for Covid unity.

CHINA has announced a pledge of two billion Covid vaccine doses to be supplied to the world this year, calling for greater co-operation in assisting Third World countries to produce their own vaccines.

President Xi Jinping made the announcement on Thursday to the International Forum on Covid-19 Vaccine Co-operation, a summit of developing countries.

The commitment compares to a US pledge to donate 500 million doses globally. China leads the world in vaccine supply, having delivered 750 million doses so far to 104 countries and regions, compared with US delivery of 110 million to 65 countries and regions.

“Over four billion vaccines have been administered globally — but more than 75 per cent have gone to just 10 countries,” World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the summit.

The forum discussed how to widen access to jabs, with US producers like Pfizer and Moderna having recently raised prices.

President Xi also promised a $100 million (£72m) donation to international vaccine distributor Covax and said China was facilitating production of its vaccines in other countries.