The World Health Organization gave China its support and understanding to start administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to people while clinical trials were still underway, a Chinese health official said on Friday, APA reports citing Reuters.
China launched its emergency programme in July, having communicated with the WHO in late June, according to Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official.
Hundreds of thousands essential workers and other limited groups of people considered at high risk of infection have been given the vaccine, even though its efficacy and safety had not been fully established as Phase 3 clinical trials were incomplete.
“At end-June, China’s State Council approved a plan of COVID-19 emergency use program,” Zheng told a news conference.
“After the approval, on June 29, we made a communication with the relevant representatives of the WHO Office in China, and obtained support and understanding from WHO,” Zheng said.
WHO’s representative in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said in Geneva this month that national regulatory authorities could approve use of medical products within their own jurisdictions in the current emergency situation, but described that as a “temporary solution”.