Paving the way for the poorest countries to obtain another vaccine
The World Health Organization approved China’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use last Friday, paving the way for poor countries to obtain another much-needed vaccine to help end the pandemic.
After approval, the Sinopharm vaccine will be included in the World Health Organization’s global initiative Covax, which aims to promote the equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide.
Rich countries are building a backlog. India is a major vaccine producer and has stopped exports in response to its growing coronavirus crisis. After rare side effects, safety issues have caused some countries to temporarily stop using AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s dosages or change their guidelines for use.
When the WHO considers another Chinese vaccine produced by Sinovac, it will further improve the chances of reliable access to the vaccine next week.
For China, approval represents a peak in its vaccine diplomacy efforts and an opportunity to fill the gap left by pharmaceutical companies in Western countries and low- and middle-income countries. Sinopharm is the first Chinese vaccine classified as safe and effective by the World Health Organization (WHO). Its approval can alleviate concerns about the lack of transparency of Chinese vaccine companies.