Developing countries may face a long wait if they want a vaccine made in the West, but there's always the option of turning to China, an economist from the Development Bank of Singapore said.
"Considering the billions of doses needed, and the risk [of] falling at the back of a very long line for Western vaccines, the appeal of the Chinese vaccines is apparent," Taimur Baig, chief economist and managing director at DBS Group Research, said in a note to US business news channel CNBC.
China has five homegrown vaccine candidates in phase three trials, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That's usually the last step before government regulators vet the vaccine for approval.
Sinopharm, or China National Pharmaceutical Group, submitted an application to Chinese authorities last week seeking approval. The firm has two vaccine candidates.
Sinovac Biotech, another vaccine developer, said the company's partners in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey have established monitoring systems for adverse reactions in accordance with internationally accepted standards. So far, no severe adverse reactions related to COVID-19 vaccines have been reported.
Beijing has already promised its vaccine will be supplied to developing countries in priority as a public good after research and development is complete and the vaccine is available.
Beijing also joined Covax, a vaccine alliance backed by the World Health Organization, which seeks to grant equal access to all participating countries when a vaccine is developed. The goal is to provide a lifeline to lower-income countries that would not have been able to afford these vaccines otherwise.