WHO nod for Pfizer Covid vaccine may allow better access to poor nations

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures, a big hurdle for developing countries where the required freezers and reliable electricity supply may not be available.
The World Health Organization says it has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, meaning poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America.

Every country that has a drug regulatory agency will have to issue its own approval for any Covid-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots.

The global body said late Thursday that the decision to issue its first emergency use validation for a Covid-19 vaccine "opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine."

The UN health agency said its review found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received clearance in the United States, Britain, the European Union and a dozen other countries, "met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO."

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures, a big hurdle for developing countries where the required freezers and reliable electricity supply may not be available.


Covid-19 kills 26 in Belgian care home after Santa’s visit 

At least 26 residents of a Belgian retirement home have died since a visit by a volunteer dressed as Saint Nicholas who has since tested positive for Covid-19, The Guardian reported.

The deaths at the Hemelrijck home in Mol, near Antwerp, have prompted the local municipality to criticise the “completely irresponsible” organisers of the festive visit, although the cause of the infection is not yet certain. Agencies

 


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