The World Health Organization launched the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use late Friday – a move that will allow countries to speed up their own legislative approval.
The Geneva-based body said the list of emergency uses is also a prerequisite for the vaccine to be part of the COVAX facility, which aims to distribute vaccines fairly around the world.
Moderna will be the fifth vaccine approved for emergency use by the WHO – after Pfizer / BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and two versions of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine. It has already received the green light from the EU and US regulators.
The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) reviewed the vaccine in January and recommended that it be used in adults 1
Modern vaccines may not always need ultra-cold chain storage, as vials can be stored refrigerated at 2-8 degrees Celsius for up to 30 days before the first doses are withdrawn, the WHO said.