Prior to the two AstraZeneca vaccines, only the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was approved by WHO for emergency use for COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.
On February 15, the World Health Organization (WHO) licensed the emergency use of two AstraZeneca (UK-Sweden) COVID-19 vaccines, helping to kick-start the distribution of vaccines. This reaches some of the poorest countries in the world through the COVAX allocation initiative.
The above two approved vaccines are currently being produced at the Indian Serum Institute (SII) and in Korea. In addition to the two vaccines mentioned above, only the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech has so far been approved for emergency use by WHO.
WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Pharmaceutical Mariangela Simao stressed that countries that have so far not had access to the COVID-19 vaccine can finally start vaccinating health workers and at-risk populations. Contributing to the realization of COVAX’s goal is the equitable distribution of vaccines.
However, WHO will have to maintain pressure to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere and facilitate global outreach. To do this, the world needs to expand its capacity to develop vaccines, and developers need to accelerate the submission of vaccine applications to WHO for review.