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Home Health & Fitness WHO lists Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for emergency use | Coronavirus pandemic News

WHO lists Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for emergency use | Coronavirus pandemic News


UN health agency says emergency use listing ‘opens the door’ for countries to expedite their vaccine approval processes.

The #World #Health #Organization has listed #Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, a critical step that the #United #Nations health agency said aims to make the vaccine more readily available in developing nations.

#In a statement on #Thursday, WHO said its validation of the vaccine – the first since the start of the pandemic – “opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine”.

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#It will also allow groups, such as UNICEF and the #Pan-American #Health #Organization, “to procure the vaccine for distribution to countries in need”, the WHO said.

“This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines,” #Dr #Mariangela #Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said in the statement.

“But I want to emphasize the need for an even greater global effort to achieve enough vaccine supply to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere.”

#Boxes of #Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines arrive at an undisclosed location in #Nicosia, #Cyprus, #December 26, 2020. [Stavros Ioannides/PIO/Handout via Reuters]

WHO said the #Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine met its safety requirements and its benefits outweighed any potential risks.

The vaccine, which must be kept at ultra-low temperatures, is already being administered in several countries, including the #United #States, #Canada, #Qatar, #Bahrain and #Mexico.

#Human rights groups have raised concerns about richer countries “hoarding” vaccines at the expense of developing nations.

A recent report by #Amnesty #International found that all of #Moderna #Inc’s COVID-19 vaccines and 96 percent of #Pfizer-BioNtech’s doses had been secured by rich countries, including #Canada, the #United #Kingdom and the US.

“Many countries have seen the vaccine, understandably so, as their way out of this crisis and it’s been a race,” #Stephen #Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at #Amnesty, told #Al #Jazeera this month.

“Rather than work together, we’ve had a ‘me first’ attitude in many countries and there’s been a lack of multilateralism and global coordination in the world.”

#Healthcare workers hold syringes with the #Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the #University #Hospital in #Nitra, #Slovakia, #December 26, 2020 [Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters]

#Africa #Centers for #Disease #Control and #Prevention #Director #John #Nkengasong also warned that #Africa might not see vaccines until after the second quarter of 2021.

#Nkengasong called it a “moral issue” and urged the UN to summon a special session to discuss the ethical and fair distribution of vaccines to avoid “this #North-South distrust in respect to vaccines, which is a common good”.

The UN health agency, with the GAVI #Vaccine #Alliance and the #Coalition for #Epidemic #Preparedness #Innovations (CEPI), is spearheading a global effort called COVAX to secure and distribute vaccines to poorer countries, to ensure shots do not go only to wealthy nations.

The WHO-backed COVAX alliance has agreements for nearly two billion doses, with first deliveries due in early 2021.

The alliance has been in talks with #Pfizer and #BioNTech to secure vaccine.





[ source link ]
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/31/who-lists-pfizer-biontech-covid-vaccine-for-emergency-use

#lists ##PfizerBioNTech #COVID #vaccine #emergency ##Coronavirus #pandemic ##News

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