Covid-19: South Africa approves emergency use for Sinovac


Economic Freedom Fighters members chant and hold plackards as they march to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority offices in Pretoria, on June 25, 2021. They are demanding that vaccines from Russia and China be supplied to South Africans.

Photo credit: Phill Magakoe | AFP

South Africa's health products regulator has sanctioned the use of the Sinovac Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine as it fights a new wave of the pandemic.

Sinovac becomes the first shot developed for the deadly virus by a Chinese company to be authorised locally.

According to a statement on Saturday, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority backed the double-dose vaccine developed by Sinovac’s Life Sciences unit albeit with conditions.

Sahpra's conditions include satisfactory results of ongoing studies and periodic safety updates.

“This authorisation is based on the safety, quality and efficacy data submitted by Curanto Pharma (Pty) Ltd to Sahpra between 22 March 2021 and 22 June 2021.


"Although the data submitted are considered acceptable at this point, the authorisation is subject to a number of conditions. Specifically, the applicant is required to submit the final results of ongoing clinical studies. Sahpra also took account of the World Health Organisation Emergency Use Listing report on this vaccine," said Sahpra.

The move comes at a time South Africa has started rolling out its immunisation to people aged 50 and older.

The country, which has only vaccinated about six per cent of the population, is in the middle of a devastating third wave with the more infectious delta variant becoming widespread.

Sinopharm vaccine

Sahpra also "took into account the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing report on the vaccine in giving its approval".

Earlier this week Sahpra chief executive officer Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said the regulator is moving faster on the emergency-use application for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine after the producer submitted data. The agency has also received an application for the Sinopharm vaccine developed by China.

Sinovac can be taken by people between the ages of 18 and 59. It has two doses, with the second one to be taken after 14 to 28 days. The jab has a provisional shelf life of two years.