Data as received by WHO from national authorities, as of 21 February 2021, 10 am CET
The number of global new cases reported continues to fall for the sixth consecutive week, with 2.4 million new cases last week, a 11% decline compared to the previous week (Figure 1).
The number of new deaths also continued to fall for the past three weeks, with nearly 66 000 new deaths reported last week, a 20% decline as compared to the previous week.
A total of four out of six WHO regions reported declines in new cases (Table 1), with only South-East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean regions showing a small 2% and 7% increase, respectively.
The Americas continue to see the greatest drops in absolute numbers of cases. Meanwhile, the number of new deaths declined in all regions apart from the Western Pacific (6% increase).
WHO relies on the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) to issue policy recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination to Members States. Through an established methodological process rooted in evidence-based medicine, and with the support of a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine working group,
SAGE has issued three sets of interim recommendations to date, covering: the Pfizer- BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine , the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine , and the AstraZeneca – Oxford University AZD1222 vaccine.
The last of these reviews examined AstraZeneca core clinical data from the Phase 1-3 clinical trials. The WHO interim recommendations that ensued apply to AZD1222 (named generically as ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Oxford University (United Kingdom) and AstraZeneca, as well as to ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) vaccines against COVID-19 produced by other manufacturers.
These include the Serum Institute of India and SK Bioscience (South Korea), both of which rely on the AstraZeneca core clinical data and have demonstrated equivalence in their regulatory review. It will be the responsibility of regulatory bodies and WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) process to ensure that products emerging from different manufacturing facilities are equivalent.