China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine has been given the green light by The World Health Organisation for emergency use. The director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made the announcement yesterday in Geneva. The Chinese vaccine joins Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Janssen, Moderna, and Serum Institute of India in being authorised by the WHO for emergency use.
“This afternoon, WHO gave emergency use listing to Sinopharm Beijing’s Covid-19 vaccine, making it the sixth vaccine to receive WHO validation for safety, efficacy and quality.”
Tedros says the Sinopharm vaccine is eligible to be purchased by COVAX, the initiative to provide equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines. COVAX also gives countries confidence to expedite their own regulatory approvals and imports. The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation reviewed the data and is recommending the vacccine for use in adults aged 18 or older, with a 2 dose schedule.
Meanwhile, the other Chinese-made Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine is now approved in Thailand for adults over 60 years old. Doctors had initially advised that the vaccine to only be for adults 18 to 60 due to limited research on the elderly. The recommendation from doctors led Thailand’s 67 year old prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, to wait and take the AstraZeneca vaccine.
After Prayut backed out of plans to be the first to be injected with the Sinovac vaccine, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is 55 years old, stepped up to be the first in Thailand to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The Sinovac vaccine has not been used on those over 60 years old since Thailand launched its Covid-19 immunisation campaign in late February.
Thailand is also set to receive 10 to 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The minister posted an announcement on his Facebook page along with a photo after a meeting with Pfizer representatives. Anutin says the Thai Food and Drug Administration will facilitate the registration process as soon as possible. The Pfizer vaccine is expected to arrive in Thailand in the third or fourth quarter of the year.