WHO grants emergency listing to Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday listed the COVID-19 vaccine Moderna for emergency use.

This is the fifth vaccine that has been listed for emergency use by the WHO. COVID-19 vaccines from drug manufacturers Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine arm have also been granted emergency use listing.

Emergency use listings are granted by WHO to vaccines that have passed quality, safety and efficacy assessments. The listing helps some countries fast-track their individual regulatory approval process for COVID-19 vaccines. Before receiving WHO’s listing, Moderna’s vaccine had already received emergency use authorization in the US, Canada and several other countries.

In January, vaccine advisers to WHO reviewed the vaccine and endorsed it for use in adults in interim recommendations.

According to WHO, the storage requirements of Moderna’s vaccine doses may do away with the need for extra equipment. It can be kept unopened at normal refrigerator temperatures for a month, and Moderna noted Thursday that data suggests its vaccine can be refrigerated for three months in 2-8°C temperatures.

“Vials can be stored refrigerated at 2–8 °C for up to 30 days prior to withdrawal of the first dose, meaning that ultra-cold chain equipment may not always be necessary to deploy the vaccine,” WHO said in a statement.

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