China passes 1.8b doses of vaccine exports with new Laos shipment: authorities

Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccines. (Photo: CFP)

China has supplied 1.8 billion shots of COVID-19 vaccine to other nations as of Thursday, according to the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).

The milestone was reached when China began shipping 700,000 shots to Laos.

China is the main source of COVID-19 vaccines to its Southeast Asian neighbor, to which it has exported 6.9 million shots.

Laos has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases since October.

CIDCA held emergency meetings with China's Ministry of Commerce and the provincial government of Yunnan, which borders Laos, to arrange the new vaccine shipment, together with other supplies worth 10 million yuan (about $1.57 million).

"The ASEAN nations are important partners of China," said Deng Boqing, deputy head of CIDCA. "China will provide 150 million more shots to the region for free, and another $1.5 billion development fund in the next three years."

The supplies will be distributed in northern Laos to enhance anti-COVID measures and restore border trade.