Emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as of June 2021

Drug Discov Ther. 2021 Sep 22;15(4):222-224. doi: 10.5582/ddt.2021.01064. Epub 2021 Jul 19.


In December 2019, the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the resulting pandemic has caused widespread health problems and social and economic disruption. Thus far in 2021, more than 4 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, so safe and efficacious vaccines are urgently needed to restore normal economic and social activities. According to the official guidance documents of the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines based on four major strategies including mRNA, adenoviral vectors, inactivated viruses, and recombinant proteins have entered the stage of emergency use authorization and pre-certification evaluation. The current review summarizes these vaccines and it looks ahead to the development of additional COVID-19 vaccines in the future.

Keywords: COVID-19; adenoviral vectors; inactivated viruses; mRNA; recombinant proteins; vaccine research.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / classification
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Approval / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Viral / therapeutic use
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / therapeutic use
  • World Health Organization


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • Vaccines, Inactivated