The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use – the second Chinese vaccine to receive the WHO’s green light.
The UN health agency signed off on CoronaVac, a two-dose vaccine developed by the Beijing-based firm 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 on June 1.
“The easy storage requirements of CoronaVac make it very suitable for low-resource settings,” he added. “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.
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.