On Friday, the World Health Organization approved China The Covid-19 Vaccine from Sinopharm For emergency use, making it easier for poor nations to reach another much-needed dose to help end the pandemic.
Rich countries stock up on potions. India, a major vaccine maker, Exports have been halted to tackle the worsening coronavirus crisis. Safety questions following extremely rare side effects have caused some countries to briefly stop using the dosages of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson or change their guidelines on use.
Access to a reliable vaccine could improve next week when the World Health Organization considers another Sinovac Chinese injection.
Andrea Taylor, who analyzes global vaccine data at the Duke Institute for Global Health, described the potential addition of two Chinese vaccines to the Covax program as a “game-changer”.
“The situation at the moment is so desperate for low-income and lower-middle-income countries that any doses we can get are worth filling,” said Ms. Taylor. “Having two potential options from China could really change the landscape for what is possible over the next few months.”
But the hype may be short-lived. While China has claimed it could reach 5 billion doses by the end of this year, Chinese officials say the country is struggling to manufacture enough doses for its population and warn the exhausted world of the pandemic to keep expectations under control.
It should be the golden time for China to undertake vaccine diplomacy. “The problem is, at the same time, that China itself faces a shortage,” said Yanzhong Huang, senior global health fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “So in terms of global access to vaccines, I don’t expect the situation to improve dramatically in the next two to three months.”
Nevertheless, the approval represents a high point in vaccine diplomacy efforts and an opportunity to bridge the gap left by Western nations and pharmaceutical companies in low- and middle-income countries. Sinopharma is the first Chinese dose classified by the World Health Organization as safe and effective, and its approval could allay concerns about a lack of transparency from Chinese vaccine companies.
Regulators from China and other countries have approved the Sinopharm vaccine in recent months, although the company has not released phase 3 clinical trial data for scientists to evaluate independently.
The World Health Organization was granted access to this data prior to the announcement, but there is limited data on how well the vaccine is working against the many coronavirus variants that are emerging around the world.