Regulatory approvals

Some COVID-19 vaccines in use have not been approved by WHO. Are they safe and effective?


WHO has approved several COVID-19 vaccines for Emergency Use Listing so far. Other vaccines that have not yet been approved by WHO may be under evaluation or may have not been submitted for this specific assessment. Not having completed evaluation and approval by WHO does not necessarily mean that a vaccine is not safe or efficacious, but it precludes its specific recommendation by WHO and its distribution through UN agencies.

WHO Emergency Use Listing enables accelerated access to COVID-19 vaccines for countries seeking to protect healthcare workers and at-risk populations. It is a prerequisite for vaccine supply through the COVAX Facility and it allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

  • WHO grants Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to vaccines that it has thoroughly evaluated for safety and efficacy.
  • Nationally approved vaccines that do not (yet) have WHO EUL may also be safe and efficacious but WHO has not been able to assess this yet.