WHO endorses China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, giving boost to global jab rollout

 

— The World Health Organization (WHO) validated on Friday the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm for emergency use, a move set to boost global vaccine rollout, particularly in the developing world.

— The jab is an inactivated vaccine with easy storage requirements, which makes it highly suitable for use in low-resource settings.

— It is also the first vaccine that will carry a vial monitor, which changes color if exposed to heat, letting health workers know whether the vaccine can be safely used.

— According to the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, the Sinopharm vaccine is recommended for use in adults 18 years and older in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks.

— With the WHO’s validation for emergency use, the Sinopharm vaccine, as the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by a non-western country, is expected to accelerate vaccine rollout in many low and middle-income countries through purchase and delivery by the WHO-led initiative.

GENEVA, May 7 (Xinhua) — The World Health Organization (WHO) validated on Friday the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm for emergency use, a move set to boost global vaccine rollout, particularly in the developing world.

“This afternoon, the 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,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing.

It is also the first vaccine that will carry a vial monitor, a small sticker on the vials that changes color if the vaccine is exposed to heat, letting health workers know whether the vaccine can be safely used.

According to the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), the Sinopharm vaccine is recommended for use in adults 18 years and older in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks.

Though few adults over 60 years were enrolled in clinical trials and efficacy could not be estimated in this age group, the WHO is not recommending an upper age limit for the Sinopharm vaccine, because reviewed data have suggested that the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in older persons, according to the WHO press release.

“There is no theoretical reason to believe that the vaccine has a different safety profile in older and younger populations,” said the WHO press release, which recommends that countries using the vaccine in older age groups conduct safety and effectiveness monitoring.

Assessment by SAGE has shown that the Sinopharm vaccine had been authorized by 45 countries or jurisdictions for use in adults 18 years or older, where more than 65 million doses had been administered through emergency use programs. No safety concerns have been identified from pre-clinical or repro/tox (reproductive toxicity) studies, while most adverse events were mild to moderate, such as injection pain, headache and fatigue.

GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD

As of Wednesday, more than 1.1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered globally, but over 80 percent of those had been administered in high and upper-middle income countries, while just 0.3 percent in low-income countries, according to Tedros.

With the WHO’s validation for emergency use, the Sinopharm vaccine, as the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by a non-western country, is expected to accelerate vaccine rollout in many low and middle-income countries through purchase and delivery by the WHO-led COVAX initiative.

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