Sinovac: WHO approves Chinese vaccine against Covid-19 CoronaVac for emergency use


The decision will allow CoronaVac to be used in WHO’s vaccine sharing program, COVAX, which aims to provide equitable global access to vaccinations.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference on Tuesday that CoronaVac was found to be “safe, effective and of guaranteed quality after two doses of the inactivated vaccine”.

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has recommended the vaccine for people over 18 years of age. Two doses should be spaced two to four weeks apart.

Unlike some other vaccines, CoronaVac does not need to be stored at very cold temperatures.

“The easy storage requirements of the CoronaVac make it very suitable for low resource environments,” Tedros said. “Getting these lifesaving tools to the people who need them quickly is now crucial. “

Efficacy studies have shown that CoronaVac prevented symptomatic disease in just over half of those vaccinated and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalization in 100% of those studied, the WHO said in a statement.

It is the eighth vaccine to receive a WHO emergency use list, including those from Pfizer / BioNtech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and the Serum Institute of India.

The world needs more doses

There is an urgent need for Covid-19 vaccines in places where the coronavirus is increasing and in countries that have not been able to obtain sufficient doses.
It is hoped that the approval of Sinovac will increase supplies to the global COVAX vaccine sharing program. The program recently faced a severe shortage of supplies from India, which halted the export of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid the Covid-19 crisis. Western countries have also been criticized for storing vaccines.
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COVAX should have already delivered 170 million doses in total, according to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Instead, as of May 17, it had delivered 71 million shots in 125 countries and territories.

“The world is in desperate need of several Covid-19 vaccines to address the enormous inequity of access across the world,” said Mariângela Simão, WHO Deputy Director General for Access to Health Products, in a statement.

“We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX installation, share their know-how and data, and help bring the pandemic under control. “

China supplies vaccines

Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines are both inactivated vaccines, which are less effective than mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Unlike their Western counterparts, the two Chinese companies have not released full data from their latest clinical trials conducted around the world, drawing criticism from scientists and health experts.

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According to Sinopharm and Sinovac, their vaccines have had different efficacy results in trials conducted in different countries, but they have all exceeded the WHO 50% efficacy threshold for emergency use approval. .

Sinovac has already supplied images to dozens of countries and regions, including mainland China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. The company said it has supplied more than 600 million doses of its vaccine nationally and internationally, with more than 430 million doses administered.

China announced on Tuesday that it had produced the first batches of its Sinopharm vaccines for distribution to COVAX, according to state media Xinhua. China plans to provide 10 million doses to the global vaccine sharing program.

CNN’s James Griffiths contributed reporting.

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