WHO clears emergency use of China's Sinopharm vaccine

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WHO clears China vaccine (Image: Twitter/WHO)
WHO clears China vaccine (Image: Twitter/WHO)

Beijing : In a major relief for China, WHO has allowed emergency use of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, which is the first Chinese vaccine to get WHO approval.

With this China can step up its vaccine diplomacy in several countries where coronavirus cases are on a surge.

China has approved about five of its Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use and especially using Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for both at home and abroad.

China was eagerly awaiting the global health body’s nod for it to aggressively push the vaccine among different countries.

"This afternoon, WHO gave emergency use listing to Sinopharm Beijing's Covid-19 vaccine, making it the sixth vaccine to receive WHO validation for safety, efficacy and quality," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

"The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation, or SAGE, has also reviewed the available data, and recommends the vaccine for adults 18 years and older, with a two-dose schedule."

The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).

The two-jab vaccine is an inactivated vaccine called SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell). Its easy storage requirements make it highly suitable for low-resource settings, the WHO press release said.

The Sinopharm vaccine is already in use in 42 territories around the world, fourth behind AstraZeneca (166), Pfizer-BioNTech (94) and Moderna (46), according to an AFP tally.

Besides China, it is being used in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Seychelles, among others.