WHO approves 2nd Chinese vaccine for emergency use

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Image courtesy: IANS

Beijing/Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that it has approved China's second COVID-19 vaccine 'Sinovac' for emergency use listing.

"WHO today validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing," the UN health agency said in a statement.

The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

"The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe," said Dr Maringela Simao, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products.

"We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control," Dr. Simo said.

On May 7, WHO granted conditional approval to China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, which helped Beijing to step up its vaccine diplomacy amid the virus surge.

China for its part has approved about five of its vaccines for emergency use and especially using Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for both at home and abroad.

China has offered 10 million vaccine doses to COVAX facility which is a WHO backed initiative to provide vaccines to developing countries.

WHO's Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply and international procurement. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO has already listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Astra Zeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines for emergency use.

According to Chinese official media, China has so far administered 600 million doses of vaccines at home so far. China has also been rushing vaccines supplies to a number of countries as part of its vaccine diplomacy.

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