China is in talks to have its locally-produced COVID-19 vaccines assessed by the World Health Organization, as a step toward making them available for international use, a WHO official said on Tuesday.
Hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk in China have been given locally-developed vaccines even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.
Socorro Escalante, WHO's coordinator for essential medicines and health technologies in the Western Pacific region, told a news conference conducted online that China had held preliminary discussions with WHO to have its vaccines included in a list for emergency use.
The WHO's emergency use listing procedure allows unlicensed vaccines and treatments to be assessed to expedite their availability in public health emergencies. This helps assist the WHO's member states and UN procurement agencies to determine the acceptability of the vaccines.
"Potentially through this emergency use listing the quality and safety of these vaccines and efficacy could be assessed. ..and then this could be made available for our licensees," Escalante said.