WHO approves China's Sinovac COVID-19 jab

The WHO says the efficacy results of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine show it prevents symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated. AFP/Anthony Wallace

GENEVA - The World Health Organization approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use -- the second Chinese jab to receive the WHO's green light.

The UN health agency signed off on the Beijing-based firm Sinovac's two-dose vaccine CoronaVac, which is already being deployed in several countries around the world.

"I'm happy to announce that the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine has been given WHO emergency use listing after being found to be safe, effective, and quality-assured," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference.

"The easy storage requirements of CoronaVac make it very suitable for low-resource settings," he added.

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"It's now crucial to get these life-saving tools to the people that need them quickly."

The WHO said the emergency use listing (EUL) gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities assurance that the vaccine has met international standards.

Last month, Sinopharm became the first Chinese vaccine to be approved by the WHO.

The organisation has also given EUL status to vaccines being made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the AstraZeneca jab being produced in India, South Korea and the EU, which it counts separately.

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WHO's listing paves the way for countries worldwide to approve and import a vaccine for distribution quickly, especially those states without an international-standard regulator of their own.

It also opens the door for the jabs to enter the Covax global vaccine-sharing facility, which aims to provide equitable access to doses around the world, particularly in poorer countries.

Currently, only AstraZeneca and some Pfizer jabs are flowing through the scheme.

"The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe," said Mariangela Simao, the WHO's assistant director-general for access to health products.

"We urge manufacturers to participate in the Covax facility, share their know-how and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control."


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