The UN agency has approved the Sinopharm vaccine for emergencies. This is a prerequisite for inclusion in the global vaccine solidarity initiative COVAX.
The vaccine is easy to store, suitable for sites with limited resources, and 79 percent effective in clinical studies.
“The addition of this vaccine has the potential to rapidly accelerate access to COVID-19 vaccines for countries that want to protect health workers and vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Mariângela Simão, WHO Deputy Director General for Access to Health Products.
“We urge the manufacturer to participate in the COVAX facility and to contribute to the goal of a fairer distribution of vaccines.”
First a vaccine
The Sinopharm vaccine is manufactured by the Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
It is the first vaccine to wear a vaccine bottle monitor. The vials have a small sticker that changes color when the vaccine is exposed to heat, so health care workers know if it is safe to use.
The vaccine is recommended for adults aged 18 years and over. The schedule for two doses is three to four weeks.
Although few people over 60 participated in the clinical trials, the WHO did not recommend an upper age limit for use as data suggests that the vaccine is likely to have protective effects in the elderly.
Safely Accelerate Vaccines
The WHO Emergency List (EUL) enables countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
The EUL process assesses the suitability of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in public health emergencies.
The aim is to make them available as quickly as possible while complying with strict criteria for safety, effectiveness and quality.
The Sinopharm vaccine is the sixth to receive EUL approval. The others are from Pfizer / BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, the Serum Institute of India, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and Moderna.