Sinopharm receive WHO approval, becoming the first non-western vaccine to achieve this coveted status. And this despite Putin declaring that the Sputnik vaccine was more reliable than a Kalashnikov. A somewhat interesting comparison with everything considered.
The Chinese have already vaccinated millions of their own population as well as supplying the vaccine to 45 other nations, many of them in the developing world. China also briefly announced that they would only accept people that had received a Chinese made vaccine, before changing their stance.
Many countries of the world already recognize the Chinese vaccine, particularly those that have purchased and are already using it.
Sinopharm receive WHO approval – what does it mean?
Having the World Health Organization back the vaccine means that it can be used as part of the Covax program to provide vaccines to the developing world, but there is more to it than that.
Getting WHO approval means that theoretically at least that if and when Vaccine passports become a thing, which they will, then if you’ve had the Chinese vaccine you will be able to travel to countries accepting vaccinated travelers.
This will hugely affect people from some of the most populous countries in the world, such as Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan, all of which are huge recipients of the Sinopharm vaccine. It also potentially opens doors for potential travel corridors, particularly in South-East and East Asia.
Are travel corridors the way forward? Read here.
Sinopharm get WHO approval – why did it take so long?
The Chinese vaccine uses a different method than those made by other countries, defined as being made in a “more traditional way”. This means they use killed viral particles to expose the immune system to the virus without risking serious disease response.
Western vaccines are far from all the same, but to summarise most of them involve injecting you with a small dose of the virus to train the immune system on how to fight it, similar to how many other vaccines work.
So, it is good news for travel?
Generally yes, and particularly for those of us in the developing world who will probably receive Sinopharm. It will mean that our vaccine has the same “value” as one produced in the west. The simple fact as well is that China has by far the biggest capacity to create vaccines, bar perhaps India, who quite understandably are prioritizing vaccinating their own people during the huge crisis currently going on there.
Quite simply the news that Sinopharm get WHO approval should mean that more of the world get vaccinated quicker. If this happens then hopefully normality and travel both become that little bit more possible.