Covid Vaccine: The World Health Organisation on Thursday cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ’emergency use’. Now, the rest of the world may soon get access to the Pfizer vaccine which is already available in Europe and North America.
WHO said the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to receive its “emergency validation” since the novel coronavirus first broke out in China a year ago.
“This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to Covid-19 vaccines,” said Mariangela Simao, a top WHO official tasked with ensuring access to medicines.
“But I want to emphasise the need for an even greater global effort to achieve enough vaccine supply to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere,” she said in a statement.
The UN health agency said its review found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received clearance in the United States, Britain, the European Union, and a dozen other countries, “met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO.”
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures, a big hurdle for developing countries where the required freezers and reliable electricity supply may not be available.
“This requirement makes the vaccine more challenging to deploy in settings where ultra-cold chain equipment may not be available or reliably accessible,” the WHO said.
India to start Covid vaccine dry run from January 2
A dry run for the Covid vaccine will be held in all states of India on Saturday, January 2, as PM Modi said on Thursday that approval for a vaccine could be around the corner. On Thursday, the Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting with all states ad Union Territories to discuss the issue. This is the second dry run being conducted in the country, the first was held on December 28 and 29 in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat and had gone off without a hitch, the health ministry said.
(With inputs from AFP)
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