The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted emergency use validation for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Now the countries only need to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import the vaccine in order to administer it to their citizens.
The development comes after many countries including the UK, the US, Canada, Switzerland among others granted emergency use authorisation to the vaccine.
While many countries have set up their own regulatory systems for vaccine approvals, some low income countries wait for WHO’s approval to start the vaccination drive.
After WHO’s emergency validation, Unicef and the Pan-American Health Organization can procure the vaccine for distribution to countries in need, the UN health agency said on Thursday
Pfizer’s vaccine has become the first one to be granted by WHO against the deadly outbreak which began in China’s Wuhan city in December 2019 .
“This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to Covid-19 vaccines. But I want to emphasise the need for an even greater global effort to achieve enough vaccine supply to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere,” Mariangela Simao, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products, said in a statement.
“WHO and our partners are working night and day to evaluate other vaccines that have reached safety and efficacy standards. We encourage even more developers to come forward for review and assessment.”
WHO assembled a team of ecxperts from around the world, inlcuding its own to review the data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine’s “safety, efficacy and quality,”
“The review found that the vaccine met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO, and that the benefits of using the vaccine to address COVID-19 offset potential risks,” it said.