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US prepared to help China with vaccines to control COVID

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference at the State Department on Dec. 22, in Washington, DC.Win McNamee/Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty

The US is prepared to help China with vaccines to help address its Covid-19 outbreak, but the government in Beijing hasn’t asked for assistance so far, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“We want to see China get this outbreak under control,” Blinken told a press conference. He said the US is worried about the rise of new coronavirus variants and said China’s outbreak has “clear implications for the global economy because of China being shut down on multiple levels.”

After trying to eliminate Covid-19 for three years, China is now letting it circulate widely. The move has resulted in an explosion in cases and reports of uncounted coronavirus deaths are mounting. One problem is that many older Chinese people aren’t vaccinated, while another is that China still hasn’t approved any foreign vaccines including mRNA-based options from BioNTech or Moderna, for its own population.

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Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said in a statement that the nation’s vaccine stock “can generally meet demand” and boosters were being rolled out. Chinese and American health officials will stay in touch, he added.

Blinken did not respond to questions about the validity of Beijing’s official tally of casualties in the current outbreak, but stressed the importance of transparency.

It’s important “for all countries, including China, to focus on people getting vaccinated, making testing and treatment available, and importantly, sharing information with the world about what they’re experiencing,” Blinken said. “Again, because it has implications not just for China, but for the entire world.”

During the same press conference, Blinken touted US efforts to increase Covid-19 vaccination worldwide and to help countries prepare for future pandemics.