WHO Approves Emergency Use of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine

By Zhang Hui and Leng Shumei

May 07, 2021 11:32 PM

Sinopharm Photo:VCG

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday approved the emergency use of the vaccine produced by Chinese firm Sinopharm. Observers said that Chinese vaccines are now "global public goods" in terms of standards, and more developing countries will have access to Chinese vaccines. 

"This afternoon, the WHO gave Emergency Use Listing to Sinopharm Beijing's COVID19 vaccine, making it the sixth vaccine to receive WHO validation for safety, efficacy and quality," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday. 

"The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE, has also reviewed the available data, and recommends the vaccine for adults aged 18 and older, with a two-dose schedule," he said. 

"This expands the list of COVID-19 vaccines that COVAX can buy, and gives countries confidence to expedite their own regulatory approval, and to import and administer a vaccine," Ghebreyesus said. 

Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, told the Global Times that the WHO approval will allow Chinese vaccines to reach more developing countries through international purchase or donations, and it will also be helpful for some EU members' emergency use of Chinese vaccines. 

A Beijing-based immunologist who requested anonymity told the Global Times that with the vaccine being tested in more countries, Sinopharm has to ensure strict standards in manufacturing and delivery, as well as expansion of annual capacity. 

On Thursday, with the completion of the last tank of concrete, the COVID-19 Vaccine Workshop Phase III Project of the Sinopharm Beijing institute was successfully capped after 70 days of construction. 

Once the project is put into use, the annual capacity will reach 3 billion doses.

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