AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine receives WHO emergency use listing

By - World Healthcare Journal

AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine receives WHO emergency use listing

As of this week WHO has listed two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out globally through COVAX.

With this Emergency Use Listing (EUL), countries with less access to Covid vaccines will be able to procure and distribute supply with greater ease throughout the population. At present, WHO has listed multiple vaccines for EUL, but with this approval, there will be an even greater supply for those in need.

The listing procedure assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines and is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply. In addition to the availability through COVAX, the listing also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer Covid-19 vaccines.

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

“But we must keep up the pressure to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere and facilitate global access. To do that, we need two things – a scale-up of manufacturing capacity, and developers’ early submission of their vaccines for WHO review. ” Dr Simão added.

In the case of the two AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines, WHO assessed the quality, safety and efficacy data, risk management plans and programmatic suitability, such as cold chain requirements - a process which took four weeks.

The vaccine was reviewed on 8 February by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which makes recommendations for vaccines’ use in populations (i.e. recommended age groups, intervals between shots, advice for specific groups such as pregnant and lactating women). The SAGE recommended the vaccine for all age groups 18 and above.

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