The World Health Organization (WHO) is reportedly in the final stages of reviewing three coronavirus vaccines for international emergency distribution.
Reuters reported Wednesday that an internal document obtained by the newswire indicated that the WHO could in the coming weeks or months give the green light to the inoculations developed by Moderna, AstraZeneca and China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac.
The WHO has already approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
According to Reuters, Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, said, “We have 3 more in final phase to be assessed for listing, we have 2 more still submitting…In total we have 13.”
Simao added that the WHO, the public health wing of the United Nations, was not aware of any deaths linked to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The emergency approval would allow the organization to begin distributing the inoculations to countries around the world, primarily lower-income ones that have a reduced capacity for widespread medical distribution. The WHO also serves as a health regulatory board for countries that do not have independent ones similar to those in the United States and the United Kingdom that are able to review the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
The news comes the same day as the inauguration of President Biden, who is slated to issue a series of executive orders Wednesday evening that will include the U.S. reentering the WHO.
Biden and Vice President Harris’ COVID-19 vaccination plan listed on the White House website includes that the administration will, “Immediately restore our relationship with the World Health Organization, which — while not perfect — is essential to coordinating a global response during a pandemic.”
Former President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE in July initiated the process of withdrawing the country from the WHO following claims that the organization had a bias toward China and that it was slow to respond to the initial outbreak of the virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Withdrawal from the WHO requires a year’s notice. Without any action by Biden, the U.S. would officially leave the international body on July 6.
In a press call with reporters Wednesday, Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsSlew of Biden orders on COVID to include resuming WHO membership Biden to sign flurry of executive actions in first hours of presidency Biden taps former FDA commissioner Kessler to head vaccine efforts MORE, coordinator of Biden’s COVID-19 response said, “[Today] starts a new day, a new different approach to managing the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis.”
The virus has now infected more than 96.6 million people globally, with more than 2 million dead as a result, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.