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A healthcare worker administers a dose of Sinovac's vaccine to an elderly man at a mall theatre converted into a vaccination center in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Tuesday it has approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for adults over 18, making it the second Chinese-developed shot given the green light.

Why it matters: The approval will allow Sinovac to join COVAX and distribute its vaccines to developing countries. The global vaccine distribution initiative currently faces "major supply problems" due to restrictions on Indian exports, Reuters reports.

  • The Sinovac vaccine's "easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings," the WHO wrote in a news release.

Details: The WHO said clinical trial results showed the vaccine, called CoronaVac, prevents symptomatic disease in 51% of vaccinated people and prevented severe COVID-19 disease and hospitalization in 100% of the studied sample.

  • A separate WHO panel of experts had previously said Phase III multi-country trial results found that vaccine efficacy ranged from 51% to 84%.
  • Of note: Few older adults (over 60 years) were enrolled in clinical trials, so "efficacy could not be estimated in this age group," the WHO said. But the organization is not recommending an upper age limit for the vaccine because data suggests the vaccine is "likely to have a protective effect in older persons."

What they're saying: "The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe," Dr. Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant-director general for access to health products, said in a statement.

  • "We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their know how and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control."
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the news, tweeting that the vaccine is "safe, effective and quality assured."

The big picture: Sinovac has supplied over 600 million doses at home and abroad as of the end of May, with over 430 million doses administered, per Reuters.

What to watch: A third Chinese vaccine produced by CanSino Biologics has submitted clinical trial data for WHO review.

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
John Frank, author of Denver
Sep 8, 2021 - Axios Denver

Who's most at risk in Colorado for COVID-19 breakthrough cases

Expand chart
Data: CDPHE; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

The number of positive COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people continues to hit new highs in Colorado, driven by the proliferation of the Delta variant.

Threat level: The risk varies depending on age and the type of vaccine received, Colorado public health officials said Wednesday.

Sep 7, 2021 - Health

Fauci slams DeSantis over "completely incorrect" COVID vaccine comment

Photos: Stefani Reynolds-Pool and Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci in an interview with CNN Tuesday pushed back on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) claim last week that getting the COVID vaccine should be a personal choice that "really doesn't impact me or anyone else."

What he's saying: "When you're dealing with an outbreak of an infectious disease, it isn't only about you," said the nation's top infectious diseases expert. "There's a societal responsibility that we all have."