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WHO clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use

This means poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America.

The World Health Organization says it has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. This means poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America.

Every country that has a drug regulatory body will have to issue its own approval for any COVID-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots.

The global body said yesterday that the decision to issue its first emergency use validation for a COVID-19 vaccine opens the door for countries to expedite their own regulatory approval processes to import and administer the vaccine.

The UN health agency said its review found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received clearance in the United States, Britain, the European Union and a dozen other countries, met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO.

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