WHO green-lights AstraZeneca’s vaccine for emergency use

February 16, 2021

Authorization should activate distribution of hundreds of millions of doses to countries involved with COVAX effort

The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted an emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, a decision that should allow the UN agency’s partners to ship millions of doses to countries as part of a UN-backed program to combat the pandemic, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

In a statement made yesterday, the WHO said it was clearing the AstraZeneca vaccines made by the Serum Institute of India and South Korea’s AstraZeneca-SKBio.

The WHO’s approval of the AZ vaccine is only the second one the agency has issued after authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December. AP says that the decision should activate the delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to countries that have signed up for the UN-backed COVAX effort, whose goal is to deliver vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable individuals.

AZ's vaccine has currently been authorized in more than 50 countries, including Britain, India, Argentina and Mexico.

Last week, WHO vaccine experts recommended the use of the AZ vaccine for people over the age of 18, including in countries that have detected variants of Covid-19.