WHO Grants 'Emergency Validation' to Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

For greater access to vaccines.
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The World Health Organization on Thursday granted emergency validation to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution. 

Britain launched its inoculation drive with the US-German vaccine on Dec. 8, with the United States, Canada, and EU countries following suit.

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.


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"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 emphasize 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.

WHO said its emergency use listing opens the way for regulators in different countries to approve the import and distribution of the vaccine.

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It said it also enables UNICEF, which plays a key logistical role in distributing anti-COVID vaccines, and the Pan-American Health Organization to procure the vaccine for countries that need it.

WHO convened its own experts and those from around the world to review the data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine’s "safety, efficacy, and quality," weighing the benefits against the risks.

"The review found that the vaccine met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO, and that the benefits of using the vaccine to address COVID-19 offset potential risks," it said.


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