The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that approval for emergency use of China’s Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19 is likely to be given by the end of March.

Taking questions on the pandemic at a UN press briefing in Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris was asked about the Sinovac vaccine.

“If you look at our [WHO vaccine] tracker, you will see that they have gone quite a long way through the process. And they are now in the final stages of review.”

Harris said that could occur quite soon.

“I don’t want to put an exact date on it because these things can change depending on all sorts of issues, but we would expect by the end of March.”

She explained that emergency use listing by the WHO opens the door for procurement by regional groups, and by the likes of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

“It also gives confidence to countries that may not have their own full regulatory process. They may then decide to use that as acceptable for approval for use in their country,” said Harris.

“But every country makes their own decision about approval,” she added.

After testing by the official drug and medical equipment body, Turkey approved Sinovac for use this January and began administering the vaccine.

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