China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, very much used globally, have been considered both safe and efficacious, according to Mariangela Simao, World Health Organization (WHO) assistant director general for access to health products.
“We still have data proving that they are efficacious against severe disease,” she said in a press conference on Monday. “Sinopharm has been very much used globally. I think 62 million doses have already been applied. It has been considered both safe and efficacious.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced last week that China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine has been validated for emergency use, marking the first Chinese vaccine officially recognized by the WHO.
The approval came after an extensive review by an external, technical advisor group that looked at different data, Simao added.
“We did site inspections in China in January and February… We accessed the clinical data available for Sinopharm. It was also considered suitable, and (with) efficacy and safety in good manufacturing practice,” she noted.
She also mentioned that the WHO is committed to the COVAX Facility, which is “an equitable access mechanism that we are very much working on and striving to get enough doses to be distributed.”
The official called for a change in the code of behavior, as many vaccine producers “are moving towards a profit-driven approach instead of an equitable-access approach.”
“So (the) WHO is pushing very hard at the highest level for everyone who is manufacturing vaccines to consider putting those vaccines in a global mechanism that will ensure that all countries have access to them, not only high-income countries who can pay more for the vaccines, as we are seeing as we speak right now,” Simao said.
“The code of behavior, when you talk about it, is not for vaccine nationalism. It is for everyone who has a product that can be a public health good and can help us in this acute phase of this pandemic,” she stressed.