TUESDAY, Feb. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has received emergency authorization use from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Monday’s approval for vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and South Korea’s AstraZeneca-SKBio could lead to hundreds of millions of doses being delivered to countries participating in the U.N.-supported COVAX program, which seeks to provide vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people, the Associated Press reported.
“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, the WHO’s Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has already been approved in more than 50 countries, forms the bulk of COVAX’s stockpile and concerns were recently raised after an early study suggested it might not prevent mild and moderate disease caused by a more contagious variant first seen South Africa. Last week, South Africa scaled back its planned rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, opting instead to use an unlicensed shot from Johnson & Johnson for its health care workers.
This is only the second such approval from the WHO, which gave the Pfizer vaccine the green light in December.
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