The World Health Organization has approved the emergency use of a Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinopharm, which may pave the way for millions of doses to reach countries in need through a United Nations-backed program.
The decision of a WHO technical advisory group opens up the possibility that the Sinopharm vaccine will be included in the United Nations-supported Covax program and distributed through Unicef and the WHO regional office in America in the coming weeks or months.
Sinopharm has released little data publicly other than the efficacy numbers for its two puffs – one from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and the other from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
The Beijing Jab has been considered for emergency listing by the WHO.
“This afternoon the WHO published an emergency list to sign Beijing’s Covid-19 vaccine. This makes it the sixth vaccine to have received WHO validation for safety, effectiveness and quality,” said Director General Tedros Adhahom Ghebreysus.
“This expands the list of vaccines Covax can buy and gives countries the confidence to expedite their own regulatory approval and import and deliver a vaccine.”
A separate group advising the UN agency on vaccines said it was “very confident” that the Sinopharm vaccine will protect people ages 18 to 59.
However, the group stated that they had “little confidence” in its effectiveness in people 60 years and older and “very little confidence” in the available data on serious side effects in this age group.