The World Health Organization (WHO) commends China for submitting data of its COVID-19 vaccines to the WHO for the Emergency Use Listing procedure, a top WHO expert said on Tuesday.
There are two Chinese-made vaccines, produced by Sinopharm and Sinovac respectively, currently under WHO evaluation, said Katherine O’Brien, director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.
The data of the vaccines have been submitted to the WHO, but inspectors on the ground are still in quarantine waiting to go to the manufacturing sites for evaluation, she added.
“So there is engagement by the WHO and we will also look forward to reviewing those data through the policy process,” she said, referring to the policy review by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, which is a separate process from the regulatory assessment and provides recommendations on how to use the vaccines.
According to the latest WHO files, the Sinopharm vaccine is now in progress of assessment, while the Sinovac vaccine submitted its data for inspection in mid-January with more dossiers expected for submission by the end of this month. Anticipated decisions from the WHO on both vaccines are expected in March.
China has been contributing to the world’s fight against COVID-19 as it is endeavoring to make its vaccines global public goods.
“We know that a number of the vaccines that are moving forward in China have been submitted for prequalification to the WHO, which is an important part, and we continue to have a conversation with them,” said Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Recalling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda on Monday, Berkley said that Xi has been a champion of COVID-19 vaccines development and equitable access to them.