WHO approves AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world. 'We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines

Reuters February 16, 2021 00:11:50 IST
WHO approves AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

WHO approves AstraZenecaOxford COVID19 vaccine for emergency use

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world.

"We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines. But we still need to scale up production," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, told a news briefing.

"We continue to call for COVID19 vaccine developers to submit their dossiers to WHO for review at the same time as they submit them to regulators in high-income countries," he said.

A WHO statement said it had approved the vaccine as produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India.

The listing by the UN health agency comes days after a WHO panel provided interim recommendations on the vaccine, saying two doses with an interval of around 8 to 12 weeks should be given to all adults, and can be used in countries with the South African variant of the coronavirus as well.

The WHO's review found that the Astrazeneca vaccine met the "must-have" criteria for safety, and its efficacy benefits outweighed its risks.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford shot has been hailed because it is cheaper and easier to distribute than some rivals, including Pfizer/BioNTech's, which was listed for emergency use by the WHO late in December.

Nearly 109 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and more than 2.5 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine make up the lion's share of doses in the COVAX coronavirus vaccine sharing scheme, with more than 330 million doses of the shot due to begin being rolled out to poorer countries from the end of February.

The WHO established its emergency use listing (EUL) process to help poorer countries without their own regulatory resources quickly approve medicines new diseases like COVID-19, which otherwise could lead to delays.

The COVAX Facility, which is co-led by GAVI, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the U.N. Children’s Fund, has said doses would cover an average of 3.3% of total populations of 145 participating countries.

(Reporting by John Revill, John Miller, Michael Shields in Zurich, Kate Kelland in London, Editing by William Maclean)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.