The global health body for more details regarding the safety of the shot requested data about Sinovac’s manufacturing process to assess whether it is compliant with WHO standards, reported The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.
A senior WHO official expects the decision to be delayed into June. This comes as Sinovac has not said how many doses it could contribute to the Covax facility, which makes deals with vaccine manufacturers to buy vaccines for poor countries.
While other vaccines such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson have been approved for use by the Covax facility, Sinovac’s relative inexperience has delayed authorisation for its vaccine, informed WHO officials familiar with the process.
Furthermore, it is not known why Sinovac has failed to provide data on its vaccine in a timely manner, as clinical trials and real-world studies on CoronaVac are continuing.
Earlier this month, the WHO approved the Chinese Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, paving the way for it to be rolled out globally. The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
The WHO advisory committee met to evaluate Sinovac’s vaccine in the same week but concluded that it did not have enough information to reach an opinion, reported The Wall Street Journal.
A Brazil study involving roughly 13,000 people had earlier found the shot to be just 50.38 per cent effective against symptomatic infections – barely crossing the WHO’s 50 per cent standard and way lower than other vaccines in the world.
Brazil recently stopped production of Sinovac vaccine as Beijing is reportedly not sending ingredients due to “diplomatic ill-will” over criticism of China. Brazil has run out of raw materials to produce Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s Covid-19 vaccine as a supply shipment has been held up in Chinese export clearance, authorities in the state of Sao Paulo said, reported a UK-based news agency.