The World Health Organization’s validation of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday is timely as it comes when a new wave of the pandemic is sweeping through many countries in a horrible manner.
Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to health products, said that the vaccine’s efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalized disease was estimated to be 79 percent for all age groups combined.
In addition, the vaccine is easy and cheap to store and transport without requiring a very low temperature. The vaccine carries a vial monitor, a small sticker on the vaccine vials that changes its color when the vaccine has been exposed to heat. This monitor indicates whether the vaccine can be safely used.
Despite the fact that this is the first Chinese vaccine that has been officially recognized by the WHO, China has been confident about the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines it has developed and manufactured.
Some developed countries have purchased more vaccines than they actually need or imposed restrictions on the export of vaccines and the raw materials needed for their manufacture. Some have even made private deals with the vaccine suppliers so they can hoard vaccines. Such acts would have denied developing countries access to any vaccines had it not been for vaccine assistance from China, which has already provided vaccines to more than 80 developing countries.
On the one hand, the WHO’s validation of this Chinese vaccine has belied the conspiracy theories that China’s vaccines are not safe or of lower efficacy. On the other hand, it means the Chinese vaccine is now on the WHO’s list for emergency use. That means that those countries that were awaiting the green light from the WHO can now acquire the Chinese vaccine.
As a result, the Chinese vaccine will help further accelerate the promotion of global vaccine coverage, which is essential to the global solidarity in the fight to bring the novel coronavirus under control as early as possible.
The number of new infections has been increasing by around 800,000 on a daily basis in recent days, and the death toll on a daily basis amounts to more than 10,000. It is obviously critical for the world to be united in making the best use of all available resources to check the spread of the virus.
China’s vaccine aid to as many as 63 countries should be enough to convince the world of its sincerity in forging global solidarity against the pandemic. Any act of politicizing vaccine cooperation will only be detrimental to the global fight against the virus.