WHO - World Health Organisation authorise two versions of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine

WHO authorises two versions of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: the two types of Oxford-created drug will now be available for global launch through the Covax Facility

Cepi (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), Gavi (the Vaccination Alliance) and the WHO (the World Health Organisation), as co-leaders of the Covax initiative for equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines, together with key distribution partner, Unicef, express “satisfaction” at the news that two versions of AstraZeneca/Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine have received the WHO Emergency Use Listing (Eul).

Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in two versions approved by WHO

The announcement means that two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, produced by AstraZeneca-Sk Bioscience (AZ-SKBio) and the Serum Institute of India (AZ-SII), are now available for global launch through the Covax Facility.

Building on the initial information provided in the interim distribution forecast, published on 3 February 2021, Covax will now complete the process of the final Q1/Q2 allocations of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to Facility participants.

Information on these final allocations will be communicated to all participants and published online the week of 22 February. Unicef said in a statement.

In order for the doses to be delivered through this first allocation round, several key elements must be in place:

– All Facility participants must have given national regulatory approval for the vaccines in question, a process that can be accelerated by the issuance of special authorisations for use based on the WHO Eul assurance.

– All Facility participants must have signed indemnification agreements with the manufacturers in question in order to receive doses through Covax. The Covax Facility is helping to facilitate the process of implementing these agreements.

In particular, Covax is supporting eligible Amc participants by negotiating a model indemnification agreement on their behalf – saving time and resources – and establishing a model indemnification agreement on their behalf.

– saving time and resources – and establishing a no-fault compensation mechanism and fund.

– Amc-eligible economies must have submitted national distribution and vaccination plans (Ndvp) through the Covid-19 partner platform, which are then reviewed and validated by Covax.

The two versions of Oxford-Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccine now available for launch in the WHO Covax Facility initiative

In preparation for this unprecedented global launch, Unicef further explains, Covax partners worked closely with all Facility participants over many months, providing support on regulatory, indemnity and liability issues, as well as the submission of comprehensive national distribution and vaccination plans.

Throughout this process, Facility participants have moved quickly to ensure that all preparations are in place for the first deliveries.

As participants meet the above criteria and complete preparations, Covax will issue purchase orders to the manufacturer and ship and deliver the doses through a repeated process.

This means that deliveries for this first round of allocations will take place on a rolling basis and in tranches.

Due to the high number of doses available and the high number of countries preparing for delivery in Q1 2021, the capacity of suppliers and transporters will be under considerable pressure.

Shipping times will be affected by logistical preparation and delivery times, which may vary depending on the location of the receiving participant.

On this basis, Covax anticipates that the majority of the first round of deliveries will take place in March, with some early shipments to those who have already met the above criteria at the end of February.

Further information regarding these first deliveries will be shared in the coming days.

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