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WHO Approves Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine :: Uganda Radionetwork
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WHO Approves Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine

The approval means that the vaccine can now be supplied through the COVAX facility and also be used by countries after assessments were carried out on its efficacy. This is the fifth vaccine to be approved for use following Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca and Pfizer's approvals that came earlier.
The Chiense Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine
The World Health Organisation has approved the Chinese vaccine-Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.


The approval means that the vaccine can now be supplied through the COVAX facility and also be used by countries after assessments were carried out on its efficacy. This is the fifth vaccine to be approved for use following Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca and Pfizer's approvals that came earlier.

The vaccine is an inactivated vaccine called SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell). Its easy storage requirements make it highly suitable for low-resource settings. The vaccine was made using three COVID-19 variants that were detected in China.

According to the manufacturers of the vaccines, the Sinopharm vaccine works by teaching the immune system to produce antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. The antibodies fight the virus by attaching themselves to the virus's spike proteins, which stops them from replicating within the body.


The vaccine has shown to offer 79 percent protection against the virus. The UN health agency recommends that the vaccine be used by adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule three to four weeks apart. The vaccine can be stored under normal refrigeration temperatures of 2-8 degrees celsius.


Unlike other vaccines whose efficacy at the point of use depends on how health workers handle it, the Sinopharm vaccine has a vial monitor in the form of a sticker on the side of the vial which changes colour when exposed to heat.


Dr Mariângela Simão, the WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products says the approval of the vaccine will likely increase access to COVID-19 vaccines.


“The addition of this vaccine has the potential to rapidly accelerate COVID-19 vaccine access for countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk. We urge the manufacturer to participate in the COVAX Facility and contribute to the goal of more equitable vaccine distribution,” she said.

The vaccine has so far been used in 45 countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Serbia, Indonesia and Seychelles with 65 million vaccines administered.


The approval of the vaccine is good news for the Chinese Community in the country. Last year, the ministry of health stopped the community from importing 8,000 vaccines because the vaccines had not yet gotten approval from the WHO. The vaccine was supposed to be used by Chinese nationals at the Liao Shen Industrial Park based in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district. 


However, it remains unclear when the vaccines will arrive in the country. Like all other vaccines, high demand has left countries or communities with small orders at the back of the line.


The general manager of Sino Africa, the company that wanted to import the vaccine for use in the country, Qui Xueyong, says they are still waiting to be allocated vaccines.


"We are happy about the vaccine but we are still on the waiting list since we want a few doses. But we are not going to give up," he said.

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