Three vials of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are pictured in a new coronavirus Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Sohn

Three vials of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are pictured in a new coronavirus Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Sohn

WHO gives emergency use listing to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

Many countries without their own advanced medical regulatory and assessment offices rely on the WHO listing to decide whether to use vaccines

The World Health Organization has given the go-ahead for the emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The mRNA vaccine from the U.S. manufacturer joins vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson in receiving the WHO’s emergency use listing.

Similar approvals for China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are expected in the coming days and weeks, WHO has said.

The greenlight for Moderna’s vaccine, announced late Friday, took many months because of delays that WHO faced in getting data from the manufacturer.

Many countries without their own advanced medical regulatory and assessment offices rely on the WHO listing to decide whether to use vaccines. U.N. children’s agency UNICEF also uses the listing to deploy vaccines in an emergency like the pandemic.

The announcement, however, wasn’t likely to have an immediate impact on supplies of Moderna’s vaccine for the developing world. The company struck supply agreements with many rich countries, which will have already received millions of doses.

In a statement Friday, CEO Stephane Bancel said Moderna was “actively participating in discussions with multilateral organizations, such as COVAX, to help protect populations around the world.”

He was referring to a U.N.-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines to many low- and middle-income countries, based on need.

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