WHO Releases Interim Guidance for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued interim guidance, recommending AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for use against the variant first identified in South Africa and for individuals 65 years and older, despite limited supporting data.
The WHO could issue an Emergency Use Listing for the vaccine as soon as next week, paving the way for global regulators to authorize the shot and for the WHO-backed COVAX program to distribute up to 340 million doses of the vaccine to developing nations.
In interim guidance unveiled yesterday, the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) advised that governments should continue distributing the vaccine even in countries battling the South Africa variant, despite one study showing that the vaccine had a minimal effect against the variant.
Instead, the WHO expert group highlighted data from much larger late-stage trials conducted in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, which demonstrated the vaccine had an efficacy of more than 63 percent against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.