50,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Honiara Sunday night from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Sinopharm vaccine is yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), government says it will be closely monitoring the approval process by WHO.

The Sinopharm vaccine is developed by a Beijing-based State-Owned Enterprise, Sinopharm.

The Sinopharm vaccine dossier is accepted for review by WHO and work is now in progress on assessing the vaccine.

While awaiting approval the government’s Technical Working group together with the National COVID-19 Coordinating Committee will be looking into the roll-out plan for the vaccine.

“The Ministry has put conditions that the vaccine will only be rolled out or distributed in the country, upon approval from WHO and the Emergency Used Listing (EUL).

"Even though the vaccines have arrived, we will store them at the medical store for safety, but it will only be rolled out once WHO approves it”, Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Pauline McNeil says.

Mrs. McNeil says at the same time, the government also has the National Therapeutic Committee that also needs to endorse the vaccine. The committee’s endorsement is also awaiting approval from the WHO.

“We acknowledge the kind donation by PRC, but we are also monitoring the progress of approval by WHO”, McNeil said in the government’s recent talkback show.

More than 50 countries have received and are using Sinopharm Vaccines under their own ‘Emergency Use Authorisations’ either through donations or direct procurement.

WHO is anticipating to make a decision on the Sinopharm vaccine by the end of April 2021.