WHO lists Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
The World Health Organization on Thursday listed Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Why it matters: The approval — the WHO's first for a coronavirus vaccine — may allow some countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes so they can import and administer the vaccine quicker, the WHO said.
What they're saying: In issuing the emergency use validation, Mariângela Simão, the WHO's assistant-director general for access to medicines and health products, stressed that the world should strive for more equitable global access to coronavirus vaccines.
- “This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines. 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,” Simão said.
- "It’s vitally important that we secure the critical supply needed to serve all countries around the world and stem the pandemic.”
The big picture: The approval also enables UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization to obtain and distribute the vaccine to countries in need.
- People in Europe, the U.S. or other wealthy countries will likely gain access to the vaccine far before others in lower-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, do, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.