Health

WHO greenlights China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine

The World Health Organization on Friday announced it granted emergency use listing to Beijing’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sinopharm, marking the sixth vaccine in the world health agency’s arsenal.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommended the jab for use in all adults aged 18 and older on a two-dose regimen. The vaccine will be added to the agency’s co-led COVAX initiative in an effort to provide vaccines to low- and moderate-income countries worldwide.

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“Vaccines remain a vital tool but right now the volume and distribution of vaccines is insufficient to end the pandemic,” Tedros said during a briefing.

Previously, a separate group advising WHO on vaccines said it was “very confident” the Sinopharm vaccine protects people ages 18-59. The group said it had a “low level of confidence” in the vaccine’s efficacy for people 60 and over. Its members said they had “very low confidence” in the available data about serious side effects in that age group.

Sinopharm hasn’t published its late-stage test results in scientific journals, so the WHO requested a breakdown of its data, which come mostly from the United Arab Emirates. A summary posted online by WHO suggests the vaccine is about 78% effective, with the caveat that all but a few hundred of the study volunteers were younger than 60.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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