By VOA News
A World Health Organization panel of immunization experts Wednesday recommended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for all ages and in regions where variant strains of the virus are prevalent.
The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization made the recommendation from agency headquarters in Geneva. The panel reviewed the vaccine this week after South Africa halted its use Sunday in response to a study by a university there that indicated the drug provided only minimal protection from the variant that was first discovered in that country.
The panel made the evaluation at the request of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and for the benefit of health care workers around the world who already are administering the vaccine. But the panel recommendation does not signify official WHO approval of the drug for emergency use, which is expected in about a week.
So far, the WHO has given emergency use authorization only to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, though other countries and regions individually have authorized other vaccines.