WHO move challenges West to recognize Chinese vaccines – Times of India

GENEVA: The World Health Organization said on Thursday that all Covid-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use should be recognized by countries as they open their borders to vaccinated travelers.
The move could challenge Western countries to broaden their acceptance of two apparently less effective Chinese vaccines, which the United Nations health agency has authorized, but most European and North American countries have not.
In addition to the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Inc. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, the WHO has also given the green light to the two Chinese jabs, manufactured by Sinovac and Sinopharm.
In its objective to restore travel across Europe, the European Union said in May that it would only recognize people as vaccinated if they had received vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency – although it is up to each country whether it wishes to let in travelers who have received other vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V.
The European medicines regulator is currently considering authorizing China’s Sinovac vaccine, but there is no timeline for a decision. It also does not recognize versions of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were made in India, effectively banning travel for people in developing countries who have received doses through the UN-backed initiative known as COVAX.
“Any measure that only allows people protected by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from reopening travel … would effectively create a two-tier system, further widening the global vaccine divide and exacerbating the inequalities we have already seen in the distribution of vaccines against the Covid-19 “, indicated Thursday the WHO in a press release.” This would have a negative impact on the growth of the economies which already suffer most “.
The WHO has said such measures undermine “confidence in life-saving vaccines which have already been shown to be safe and effective.” In its reviews of the two Chinese vaccines, the United Nations health agency said both significantly reduce the risk of hospitalizations and death.
Both Chinese vaccines are “inactivated” vaccines, made with a killed coronavirus, while vaccines made in the West are made with newer technologies that instead target the “spike” protein that covers the surface of the coronavirus.
Although Western countries have relied heavily on vaccines made in the United States and Europe, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, many developing countries have used vaccines made in China.
Earlier this year, the head of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention admitted that the effectiveness of his local injections was low. Many countries that have used millions of doses of the two Chinese injections, including Seychelles and Bahrain, have seen outbreaks of Covid-19 even with relatively high vaccination levels.

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