The World Health Organization on Friday approved Chinese vaccine Sinopharm for emergency use in coronavirus patients. This is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get the global health body’s backing. The Sinopharm vaccine will join ones made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India, in receiving the coveted authorisation from the UN health agency.
This is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get the global health body’s backing. The Sinopharm vaccine has already been given to millions of people in China and elsewhere. It is one of the two vaccines Beijing is using in its inoculation programme. Its developer, Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group, has said the vaccine was 79.34% effective in preventing people from developing Covid-19, based on interim data. The Sinopharm vaccine was authorised by 45 countries and jurisdictions for use in adults, with 65 million doses administered, according to official media reports. But many countries hesitated using the vaccine as it has not secured recognition from the World Health Organisation.
However, no detailed efficacy data of Sinopharm’s vaccine has been publicly released. But the WHO on Friday said it had confirmed the “safety, efficacy and quality” of the vaccine, recommending it for adults, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks.