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WHO Wants Immediate Approval Of Vaccines- Here's Why

 

WHO has said it is planning to approve several COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese and western manufacturers in the coming weeks/months, according to a document published on Wednesday, as the global health agency aims for rapid vaccine releases in poorer countries.

WHO has said it is planning to approve several COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese and western manufacturers in the coming weeks/months, according to a document published on Wednesday, as the global health agency aims for rapid vaccine releases in poorer countries.

COVAX, a global scheme co-led by the WHO, wants to deliver at least two billion COVID-19 doses across the world this year, with at least 1.3 billion going to poorer countries.

Even when the facility has so far struggled to secure enough shots due to a shortage of funds, while wealthy nations have booked large volumes of vaccines for themselves.

Poorer countries rely mostly on WHO authorisations as they have limited regulatory capacity of their own. Therefore, WHO is expediting emergency approvals, according to a COVAX internal document seen by the Reuters news agency.

Also, COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) could be authorised by the WHO in January or February, the document says.

The same vaccine produced in South Korea by SK Bioscience could be approved by the UN agency in the second half of February, at the earliest, according to a provisional calendar published by the WHO.

SII chief executive Adar Poonawalla told Reuters last week he expected WHO approval “in the next week or two”. As well as vaccines, regulators usually authorise their manufacturing processes in different plants.

AstraZeneca did not respond to requests for comment, while SK Bioscience said it was not aware of the WHO’s approval timeline.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University, has already been given emergency approval in the United Kingdom, while decisions in the European Union and the United States are close.

COVAX has supply contracts with AstraZeneca and SII for about 400 million doses and an option for many more hundreds of millions, although the timing of deliveries is uncertain.

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