World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine experts have said an interim analysis of clinical trial data from the two Chinese COVID-19 vaccines "demonstrated safety and good efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 disease." However, they say more data are needed for them to approve the jabs.
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), part of the United Nations' health agency that advises the WHO on immunization policies, said that studies should gather more data on Sinovac and Sinopharm among sub-groups including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
Sinovac and Sinopharm are among four homegrown jabs that have, so far, been approved by Chinese regulators. They have been exported to at least 70 countries and have received emergency use approval in Hungary and Serbia.
However, in minutes of a meeting which occurred last week, SAGE said it wanted to see its own opinions confirmed with an approval by another major regulatory authority before making a final decision.
SAGE chair Alejandro Cravioto told reporters: "For now, we have information that these vaccines are safe and that they are in the process of defining their final analysis to show the efficacy that will be used for the emergency use listing approval."
The Emergency Use Listing (EUL) approval which the vaccines' manufacturers are seeking would allow their products to be included in the COVAX global vaccine-sharing scheme to provide jabs to poorer countries.
The WHO has so far granted EUL to the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford University-AstraZeneca and Johnson Johnson.
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