China authorized its first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine for general use this last week of 2020, adding another shot that could see wide use in poorer countries soon.
The vaccine whiich is 74 percent efficient had already been given to groups such as health care professionals and essential workers under emergency-use guidelines.
Both shots have been closely watched by developing countries, many of which have been unable to secure the Pfizer and Moderna doses being snapped up by rich nations.
Officials have said the vaccine standards were developed in “close cooperation” with the World Health Organization. Securing WHO’s so-called pre-qualification could go some way toward assuring the rest of the world about the quality of Chinese vaccines, which already face a reputation problem back home. It would also open the path for the shots to be distributed in the global vaccine consortium, COVAX, and potentially in countries that don’t have their own regulatory agencies.
China is eager to ship its vaccines globally, driven by a desire to repair the damage to its image caused by the pandemic that started a year ago in the central city of Wuhan.