The mRNA vaccine is the first vaccine to receive emergency approval by the United Nations. It has already approved two from Oxford/AstraZeneca, as well as one each from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech.
The US Food and Drug Administration has also granted emergency use permission to Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson.
With the WHO’s approval on Friday, the vaccines are now eligible for the COVAX supply, a global effort to make vaccination supplies available. It also enables countries to expedite their own vaccine regulatory clearance.
In January, the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization reviewed the Moderna vaccine and approved it for people aged 18 and up.
Last month, Moderna announced the findings of a report that showed its COVID-19 vaccine protects recipients from the virus for up to six months with a 90 percent efficacy rate after the second dose. The Massachusetts-based biotech company said the vaccine also was more than 95% effective against severe cases of the disease after six months.