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A medical worker administering a coronavirus vaccine in Nanjing, China, on May 7, 2021. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The World Health Organization authorized China’s Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday, making it the sixth vaccine to receive clearance from the global health agency.

Why it matters: The authorization will allow COVAX, the WHO's initiative to equitably develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines, to purchase Sinopharm's vaccine and bolster its supply, according to the New York Times.

Context: Sinopharm is the first Chinese shot to be classified as safe and effective by the WHO, though the company has not released Phase 3 clinical trial data for scientists to independently assess.

  • The WHO received the results of the trial before the authorization of Sinopharm's vaccine, which is owned by the Chinese government.
  • Some WHO experts voiced "very low confidence" in data regarding the risks of side effects associated with the vaccine, but overall confidence in its efficacy, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: "This expands the list of [COVID-19] vaccines that COVAX can buy, and gives countries confidence to expedite their own regulatory approval, and to import and administer a vaccine," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.

What's next: The WHO will consider emergency approval for another Chinese vaccine, made by the company Sinovac, next week, according to the Times.

Go deeper: U.S. could fill "vaccine diplomacy" void as other powers struggle

Go deeper

Updated Aug 16, 2021 - Health

Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks 2 counties' mask mandates

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Attorney General Ken Paxton. Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc./Corbis via Getty Images

The Texas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay to the state's Republican governor, Greg Abbott, over his ban on face mask mandates on Sunday.

Why it matters: The stay overrides lower court rulings in favor of local authorities in the counties of Dallas and Bexar, which includes San Antonio, to temporarily impose mask mandates despite Abbott's May executive order.

California Democrats move to overhaul recall rules

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a news conference in Oakland, Californiam on Wednesday. Photo: Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

California Democrats announced plans Wednesday to change the state's recall election rules, a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) defeated a Republican-backed effort to remove him.

Why it matters: Newsom received 63.9% of the vote to stave off the challenge. State Democratic Assemblymember Marc Berman, who's helping lead the drive to overhaul the process, said in a statement that "a small minority of voters" shouldn't be able "to initiate a costly recall that wastes $276 million."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The debt ceiling stare down

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congress is fast approaching its deadline to raise the debt ceiling or risk defaulting on the nation's debt, and, as of now, there's no serious plan to stave off what many members are calling the worst-case scenario.

Why it matters: The U.S. has never defaulted on its debt. If Congress doesn't take "extraordinary measures" to finance the government, it would "likely cause irreparable damage to the U.S. economy and global financial markets," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned last week.

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