The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the western hemisphere, is assisting Cuba in the process of obtaining WHO approval for Cuba’s COVID vaccines. This step would boost their distribution, said PAHO Deputy Director Jarbas Barbosa.
“We already had a meeting with the WHO team and the vaccine producers,” said Barbosa. “And we are going to have other meetings, because our interest is that all [COVID-19] vaccines can participate in the WHO process to receive authorization for emergency use.”
Barbosa explained that only vaccines with WHO endorsement can be purchased by the PAHO revolving fund, which offers vaccines considered effective and safe at affordable prices to all member countries, reported news agency AFP.
In addition, Barbosa encouraged “all vaccine producers in the world to participate in the process, because then there will be more vaccines available.”
So far, the WHO has approved the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. Other vaccines are still pending, including Russia’s Sputnik V, France’s Sanofi, and the US Novavax. Many analysts have criticized the WHO and big pharma interests for possible political motives behind the authorization process.
National regulatory agencies of Venezuela, Vietnam, Iran, and Nicaragua have already authorized the use of Cuban COVID vaccines.
When asked about the issue, Barbosa stressed that these are sovereign decisions made by individual countries. “It’s not that they are bad or good, we just can’t talk about what our colleagues in Geneva haven’t carefully reviewed,” he said.
Cuba announced in September the beginning of exchanges with WHO experts for the recognition of COVID vaccines produced by the prestigious state pharmaceutical company BioCubaFarma.
BioCubaFarma’s Soberana 01, Soberana 02, Soberana Plus, and Abdala vaccines appear to be potential candidates for evaluation by the WHO as of September 29, according to the latest PAHO update of the WHO vaccine prequalification process.
According to this document, the four vaccines are based on a protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, chemically conjugated with meningococcus B, tetanus toxoid, or aluminum.
Featured image: The greatest advantage of vaccines is the reduction of severity and death due to COVID-19 contagion. File photo.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune