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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

WHO approves Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

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The World Health Organization has given the go-ahead for emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The mRNA vaccine from the US manufacturer joins vaccines from Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson in receiving the WHO’s emergency use listing.

Similar approvals for China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are expected in the coming days and weeks, WHO has said.

The greenlight for Moderna’s vaccine, announced late on Friday, took many months because of delays that WHO faced in getting data from the manufacturer.

Many countries without their own advanced medical regulatory and assessment offices rely on the WHO listing to decide whether to use vaccines. UN children’s agency Unicef also uses the listing to deploy vaccines in an emergency such as the pandemic.

The announcement, however, was unlikely to have an immediate impact on supplies of Moderna’s vaccine for the developing world.

The company struck supply agreements with many rich countries, which will have already received millions of doses.

In a statement on Friday, the company’s chief executive, Stéphane Bancel, said Moderna was “actively participating in discussions with multilateral organisations, such as Covax, to help protect populations around the world.”

He was referring to a UN-backed programme to ship COVID-19 vaccines to many low- and middle-income countries, based on need.

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