Two additional vaccines primed to be approved for Covax

Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Jarbas Barbosa (Photo courtesy PAHO)
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By Kadeem Joseph

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Two additional vaccines are close to being approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Covax initiative that is expected to supply Antigua and Barbuda with Covid-19 vaccines.

The Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr Jarbas Barbosa, said that while Pfizer has already received an emergency use license from the WHO, the Moderna vaccine will “probably” be the second vaccine approved by the body.

Dr Barbosa, who was speaking during a recent press conference, added, “AstraZeneca is also providing all the documentations to be the third.”

The news could mean that health officials can breathe a sigh of relief since the requirement for the Pfizer vaccine to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius was a major logistical concern for developing states like Antigua and Barbuda, that are already feeling the financial pinch brought on by the pandemic.

Dr Barbosa also addressed questions on whether Asian vaccines like Sputnik V from Russia and CoronaVac developed in China would be considered for the Covax facility.

He said that the developers of both vaccines have already “started negotiations with the WHO prequalification team”.

Dr Barbosa explained that the producers will be required to share all requisite data, including the outcomes of clinical trials, and “we only can say something about these vaccines when we review this data”.

He added that every vaccine producer is welcome to participate in the programme but will be subject to the same review standards before they are approved.

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