The United Nations (UN) health agency will not issue COVID-19 vaccines until proven safe and effective, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing last Friday, September 4, in Switzerland. Despite Russia and China proceeding to use their experimental vaccines prior to having them tested, Ghebreyesus reassures the public that WHO will only distribute vaccines that have undergone the proper testing. Some countries, however, have proposed using the vaccines with streamlining authorization procedures. Britain announced last August 28 that it is revising its laws in response to the coronavirus cases. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said its conservative government was adopting “reinforced safeguards”: this grants the country’s medicines regulatory agency the emergency use of coronavirus vaccines before they are fully licensed under the condition that they meet safety and quality standards.

Russia was the first country in the world to introduce and license a COVID-19 vaccine in August. Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine, is currently being tested on approximately 40,000 individuals in the country, including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughter and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Russian scientists published a data report of their earlier studies on September 4 showing that the vaccines are safe. However, experts said that the shots lack the evidence of its effectiveness due to limited results. China has been inoculating high-risk groups with their own experimental vaccines, whereas large studies to justify their safety and effectiveness are ongoing.