WHO gives authorization to Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

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The World Health Organization has issued an emergence use listing for the COVID-19 vaccine made by Sinovac in adults aged 18 and over, the second such authorization it has granted to a Chinese company.

In a statement Tuesday, the UN health agency said data submitted to its experts showed that two doses of the vaccine prevented people from getting symptoms of COVID-19 in about half of those who got the vaccine. WHO said there were few older adults enrolled in the research, so it could not estimate how effective the vaccine was in people over age 60.

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“Nevertheless, WHO is not recommending an upper age limit for the vaccine,” the agency said, adding that data collected from Sinovac’s use in other countries “suggest the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in older persons.”

WHO’s authorization means the vaccine can be bought by donors and other UN agencies for use in poorer countries, including in the UN-backed initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally known as COVAX.

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Last month, WHO gave the green light to the COVID-19 vaccine made by Sinopharm. It has also licensed vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca.

The COVAX effort has been slowed considerably after its biggest supplier in India said it would not be able to provide any more vaccines until the end of the year.

To date, there is no confirmed deal for Sinovac doses with COVAX.

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