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A health care worker administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the American Museum of Natural History vaccination site in New York on April 30. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization late Friday listed Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: With the listing, WHO authorizes that the mRNA vaccine can be part of the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative, which looks to ensure that every country in the world has access to inocculations.

The big picture: To date, WHO has also approved Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and two versions of the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use.

  • WHO recommended in January that the Moderna vaccine be used for people who are 18 years and older, after it was found to be over 94% effective.

What they're saying: CEO Stephane Bancel said Friday that Moderna was "actively participating in discussions with multilateral organizations, such as COVAX, to help protect populations around the world."

What to watch: Comparable authorizations for China's Sinopharm and Sinovac shots are anticipated in the days and weeks ahead, WHO has said, per AP.

Go deeper

Aug 8, 2021 - Health

"The world needs a reality check," health expert warns as COVID surges

An Army officer administers the AstraZeneca vaccine to a Tunisian man at Oued Ellil high school in Manouba. Photo: Jdidi Wassim/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As COVID-19 case numbers surge across the United States and globally due to highly contagious variants of the virus, experts warn that people are not learning the lessons of the pandemic, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Resistance to the measures that could tamper the virus' spread — masking, social distancing, and most importantly, vaccination — could draw out the length of the pandemic and keep a return to normal life at bay.

Austin, Texas, activates emergency alert system due to COVID crisis

A healthcare worker registers a patient at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination and testing site in Austin, Texas on Thursday. Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Austin, Texas, issued an emergency alert this weekend over the "severely worsening COVID-19 situation," which has reached a "critical" point, officials said.

Why it matters: The Warn Central Texas alert system was designed to be activated during a disaster. "Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases," Austin-Travis County Health Authority's Desmar Walkes said in a statement.

2 hours ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.