WHO urges manufacturers to provide COVID-19 vaccine data

GENEVA, Jan 18 (Reuters) – A World Health Organization committee urged COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers on Tuesday to provide it with the data it requires in order to list their shots for emergency use, saying the delays were affecting equitable vaccine access.

An emergency use listing with the U.N. agency means shots can be shipped to multiple developing nations that rely on WHO guidance for their regulatory decisions. It also allows them to be used by the COVAX vaccine-sharing programme that aims to ramp up vaccinations in poorer countries.

“The Committee recognized the challenges posed by some manufacturers’ delayed submission of vaccine data to WHO,” its Emergency Committee said in a statement, urging vaccine producers to supply the data as soon as possible.

Nora Gossett, 7, reacts as she receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Cohen Children’s Medical Center as vaccines were approved for children aged 5-11, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, in New Hyde Park, New York, U.S., November 4, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The statement, the outcome of a closed-door meeting held last week, did not clarify which manufacturers had not yet submitted data.

A WHO document dated Dec. 23 listed the Sputnik V vaccine, produced by the Gamaleya Institute, as having submitted incomplete data.

The Emergency Committee, made up of independent experts, meets every three months and makes policy recommendations on key issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic, such as international travel measures and COVID-19 vaccines.

It is also the body within the WHO that first declared COVID-19 a global health emergency, or ‘PHEIC’ (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) in WHO jargon, nearly two years ago. Its members unanimously agreed last week to maintain the current state of emergency.

Reporting by Emma Farge and Mrinalika Roy Editing by Mark Heinrich

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