The WHO review revealed that the vaccine met the essential criteria for safety and efficacy defined by the WHO.
The World Health Organization on Thursday listed Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, saying the move opened the door for countries to speed up their own approvals to import and kick in.
Once a vaccine has been listed for emergency use by the WHO, the United Nations health agency said it “engages its regional regulatory networks and partners to inform national health authorities. about the vaccine and its expected benefits based on clinical study data to date.
The WHO review found that the vaccine met the essential criteria for safety and efficacy defined by the WHO, and that the benefits of using the vaccine to fight COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks, WHO said in a statement.
“This is a very positive step in ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines. But I would like to stress the need for an even greater global effort to achieve sufficient vaccine supply to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere, ”said Dr Mariangela Simao, WHO Assistant Director-General for access to drugs and health products.
WHO, in collaboration with GAVI Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), is leading a global effort called COVAX to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, to ensure that vaccines are not intended only for rich nations.
The COVAX alliance said it has reached deals for nearly 2 billion doses, with first deliveries expected in early 2021. The alliance said it was in talks with Pfizer and BioNTech to secure the vaccine.
The messenger RNA vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech has been shown to be 95% effective in preventing symptoms of the disease after two doses 21 days apart. Delivery is difficult, as it must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
The vaccine has already been approved for emergency use in the United States and Great Britain, and has conditional marketing authorization in Europe and Switzerland, among other countries, where the distribution of vaccines intended for the elderly and the healthcare workers began in December.