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WHO gives emergency authorization for vaccine

February 16, 2021 12:07 pm
[Source: The Associated Press]

The World Health Organization has granted an emergency authorisation to the coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

This is a move that should allow the company’s partners to ship millions of doses to countries worldwide as part of a UN-backed program to tame the pandemic.

In a statement today, the UN health agency said it was authorizing the AstraZeneca vaccines made by the Serum Institute of India and South Korea’s AstraZeneca-SKBio.

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It comes as new weekly COVID-19 cases have nearly halved around the world. In just over a month, numbers went from 5 million to 2.6 million.

WHO is also announcing a decline in the number of cases reported weekly for the fifth week running.

WHO’s green light for the AstraZeneca vaccine should trigger the delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to countries that have signed up for the UN-backed COVAX effort, which aims to deliver vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable.

“Countries with no access to vaccines to date will finally be able to start vaccinating their health workers and populations at risk,” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO’s Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products.

Although WHO does not approve or regulate vaccines, it assesses their safety and effectiveness for developing countries that don’t have a strong regulatory system.

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