China’s Sinopharm-created COVID-19 vaccine won World Health Organization emergency-use approval on May 7. The WHO approval means that the vaccine is safe and effective and of high quality. The WHO says the vaccine can be used by those 18 years and older, and requires a second dose within 3-4 weeks for a person to be fully vaccinated.

Sinopharm’s vaccine is of the inactivated virus type and does not require the same deep refrigeration that other vaccines require.This is especially important because the vaccine will be sent to more than 60 countries around the world, many of which do not have hi-tech refrigeration technology readily available in all areas.

China is said to have a total of 5 vaccines including Sinovac that it hopes to export to the world. On May 17th China said it supports waiving intellectual property rights on COVID 19 vaccines so that many countries can begin to produce the vaccine and inoculate their own populations. A similar proposal was made by US President Joe Biden earlier in the month.

This approval of the Sinopharm vaccine will give valuable support to the WHO  COVAX program which is designed to: ” accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.” (WHO website)

Photo: Alachua County via flickr