The World Health Organization on Wednesday approved Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Why it matters: The approval should help with gaps in global coronavirus vaccine supplies, particularly in low-income countries and boost the United Nations-backed Covax program, aimed at addressing COVID-19 vaccine inequality.
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Without access to vaccines, people in low-income countries will keep dying long into the future as the virus keeps circulating, increasing the risk of dangerous new variants emerging, per Axios’ Caitlin Owens.
The big picture: The WHO said in a statement that Bharat Biotech’s two-dose vaccine, is made in India, is 78% against COVID-19.
What they’re saying: Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant-director general for access to medicines and health products, noted in a statement that vaccines are “the most effective medical tools we have to end the pandemic.”
“But we must keep up the pressure to meet the needs of all populations, giving priority to the at-risk groups who are still waiting for their first dose, before we can start declaring victory,” Simão added.
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