WHO approves Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for developing nations

An engineer works at the Quality Control Laboratory on an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing. – Sinovac Biotech. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use. This means that lower and middle-income countries can begin to immunize their populations against Covid-19.

Additionally, countries without their own regulatory bodies, or the means to rigorously assess the efficacy and safety of vaccines, can expedite their own approval processes and begin rolling out vaccination programs.

In a statement Thursday, the WHO said organizations like UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization could now procure the vaccine for distribution to countries in need.

“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,” said Dr. Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant-director general for access to medicines and health products.