China says WHO gave support for Covid vaccine emergency use
Beijing, Sep 26 (IANS): The World Health Organization gave China its ‘understanding and support’ before starting a controversial emergency use programme for its Covid-19 vaccine candidates, a Chinese health official said.
China has been administering experimental Covid-19 vaccines to hundreds of thousands of people since July under an emergency use programme approved by the Chinese government before their safety and efficacy were proven by clinical trials.
According to CNN, some experts and vaccine developers in the West have warned against the premature authorisation of coronavirus vaccines before last-stage trials are completed.
Zheng Zhongwei, an official with China’s National Health Commission, said on Friday that China’s cabinet, the State Council, has approved a trial plan for the emergency use of Covid-19 vaccines in June end.
“After the approval, we communicated and informed the relevant representatives from the WHO office in China and gained the understanding and support of the WHO,” Zhongwei was quoted as saying to CNN.
“Countries have autonomy according to their national regulations and legislations to issue emergency use authorisations for any health product, and China and other countries have already done so for different products,” Mariangela Simao, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for access to medicines and health products, said in a press conference.
China has been one of the biggest players in the global race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. According to reports, it currently has 11 vaccines in clinical trials stage and four in Phase 3 trials stage.
Globally, there are 38 vaccines in human trials stage, among which nine have reached the last stage of testing, according to the WHO. Last month, Zheng revealed in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV that China has been using experimental coronavirus vaccines on people in “high risk” professions since July 22.