WHO approves China’s Sinovac COVID vaccine for emergency use
Sinovac-CoronaVac, a brand of COVID-19 vaccine from China has been approved by the World Health Organisation for emergency use.
The announcement of the approval was contained in a statement released on Tuesday by the World Health Organisation.
WHO added that the vaccine met the required standards on safe administration.
Sinovac-CoronaVac is the second vaccine approved from China — the first was Sinopharm — and the eighth brand to be listed for emergency use by the WHO.
Others already listed for emergency use are “Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, AstraZeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm”.
Sinovac-CoronaVac is produced by a pharmaceutical company based in Beijing.
“In the case of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine, the WHO assessment included on-site inspections of the production facility. The Sinovac-CoronaVac product is an inactivated vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings,” the statement from WHO reads.
“WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) has also completed its review of the vaccine. On the basis of available evidence, WHO recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks.
“Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalisation in 100% of the studied population.
“Few older adults (over 60 years) were enrolled in clinical trials, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group. Nevertheless, WHO is not recommending an upper age limit for the vaccine because data collected during subsequent use in multiple countries and supportive immunogenicity data suggest the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in older persons.
“There is no reason to believe that the vaccine has a different safety profile in older and younger populations. WHO recommends that countries using the vaccine in older age groups conduct safety and effectiveness monitoring to verify the expected impact and contribute to making the recommendation more robust for all countries.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria may benefit from the recent approval of Sinovac-CoronaVac by the WHO, considering that the federal government had said it was in talks with China on procurement of more vaccine doses.