BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese-produced vaccine against Japanese encephalitis has been prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO), said the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) on Wednesday.
The WHO notified the administration Wednesday that the vaccine has been added to its list of prequalified medicines, the first Chinese-produced vaccine on the list, according to a CFDA statement.
The move indicates that the WHO has given the vaccine its stamp of approval in safety and efficacy, and United Nations procuring agencies can source it, said a WHO press release on its website.
The vaccine has been on the Chinese market since 1988 and about 600 million doses have been administered, notably reducing the incidence and casualty rates of Japanese encephalitis, the CFDA said.
The vaccine only needs to be given in one dose, can be used for infants, and is less expensive than other similar products, the WHO statement said, adding that it is going to "make the protection of more children in developing countries easier."
The WHO has allowed Chinese vaccine producers to apply for rights to distribute their products globally since March 2011.
Providing safe and effective vaccines from Chinese producers to the world is one way for the country to fulfill its international obligations, said the CFDA statement.
The CFDA will encourage, support and supervise domestic producers in improving their practices and meeting international standards, the statement said.
"There is huge potential for vaccine manufacturing in China and we hope to see more and more Chinese vaccines become WHO prequalified. The whole world will benefit," said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan in the press release.