WHO to approve slew of vaccines for global roll-out

BRUSSELS : The World Health Organisation (WHO) plans to approve several Covid-19 vaccines from Western and Chinese manufacturers in coming weeks and months, according to a document published on Wednesday, as it aims for rapid roll-outs in poorer countries.

Covax, which is co-led by the Gavi vaccine alliance, WHO and others, aims to deliver 1.8 billion doses to poorer countries this year.

The doses would be supplied via an advance market commitment to 92 eligible countries and would correspond to approximately 27 per cent coverage of populations in those countries.

In the race to deploy shots, regulatory approvals are key to confirming the effectiveness and safety of vaccines and to boosting output. But some poorer countries rely mostly on WHO authorisations. It is therefore "expediting" emergency approvals, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India could be authorised by the WHO this or next month, the document says.

The same vaccine produced in South Korea by SK Bioscience could be approved by the UN agency in the second half of next month, a provisional calendar published by the WHO shows.

Meanwhile, the US intends to join the Covax vaccine facility, chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci told the WHO yesterday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the announcement, saying: "This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health." - REUTERS