WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing Tuesday that CoronaVac was “found to be safe, effective, and quality-assured following two doses of the inactivated vaccine.”
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has recommended the vaccine for people over 18. Two doses should be spaced between two and four weeks.
Unlike some other vaccines, CoronaVac doesn’t need to be kept at super-cold temperatures.
“The easy storage requirements of CoronaVac make it very suitable for low-resource settings,” Tedros said. “It’s now crucial to get these lifesaving tools to the people that need them quickly.”
It is the eighth vaccine to receive emergency use listing from WHO, including those from Pfizer/BioNtech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and the Serum Institute of India.
World needs more doses
“The world desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant-director general for access to health products, said in a statement.
“We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control.”
China supplying vaccines
The Sinovac and Sinopharm shots are both inactivated vaccines, which are lower in efficacy than the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Unlike their Western counterparts, the two Chinese companies have not released the full data of their last stage clinical trials conducted around the globe, drawing criticism from scientists and health experts.
According to Sinopharm and Sinovac, their vaccines received different efficacy results in trials conducted in different countries, but they all exceeded WHO’s 50% efficacy threshold for emergency use approval.
On Tuesday, China said it had produced the first batches of its Sinopharm vaccines to be distributed to COVAX, according to state media Xinhua. China plans to provide 10 million doses to the global vaccine sharing scheme.
CNN’s James Griffiths contributed reporting.