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WHO approves China’s Sinovac Covid jab

• The World Health Organization on Tuesday approved the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light.

• The UN health agency signed off on the two-dose vaccine, which is already being deployed in several countries around the world.

• “WHO today validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use,” it said in a statement.

• The move gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities “assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”.

• Last month Sinopharm became the first Chinese vaccine to be approved by the WHO.

• The organisation has also given emergency use listing 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 quickly approve and import a vaccine for distribution, 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 scheme, 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.

• “The world desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” said Mariangela Simao, the WHO’s assistant director general for access to health products.

• “We urge manufacturers to participate in the Covax facility, share their know-how and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control.”

• The Sinovac jab is already in use in 22 territories around the world, according to an AFP count.

• Apart from China, the countries using Sinovac include Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

• The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation have reviewed the jab and published their advice on its usage.

• “WHO recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks,” the agency said.

• “Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalisation in 100 percent of the studied population.”

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)