WHO reviewing policy after rejecting emergency use of Canadian-made COVID-19 vaccine


OTTAWA —
The World Health Organization says it is reviewing its policies after opting not to accept a made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

Health Canada authorized Medicago’s two-dose Covifenz vaccine in February for adults 18 to 64.

Medicago says WHO did “not accept” its application because it has a strict policy not to engage with companies that promote tobacco, and Philip Morris owns about one-fifth of the company.

WHO says it is now exploring different policy options for health products linked to the tobacco industry.

The federal government signed an agreement with Medicago in 2020 to buy 20 million doses once the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, with the option to purchase 56 million more.

The government’s ability to donate those doses to countries in need could be seriously impeded without WHO emergency approval.





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