ECONOMYNEXT – China has agreed to donate one million doses of the Chinese Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to Sri Lanka on an as yet unspecified date, on top of four million purchased doses of Sinopharm, the other Chinese vaccine, due to arrive end September.
The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said in a tweet on Friday (17) that the Chinese government has exported 1.8 billion doses of the vaccine to 50 countries by end August, and that the donation to Sri Lanka is expected to help further expand the country’s vaccine drive.
Sinopharm is Sri Lanka’s most widely used COVID-19 vaccine yet. So far, 10.8 million people in Sri Lanka have received one dose of the vaccine, out of whom 8.9 million are fully vaccinated.
According to one expert, who stressed that Sinovac does work, it may not be the right choice for Sri Lanka at the moment, given the substantial supply of Sinopharm available to the country.
“Sinovac is not a good choice any longer, since Sinopharm is much better in terms of immune protection. This means that with continuing widespread transmission (since contrary to HE President’s Official COVID Strategy, our real strategy has been for months to live and die! with the virus), Sinovac will require boosters earlier, and it will thus end up being more costly,” Director of the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) Dr Ravindra Rannan-Elilya wrote on the IHP blog on Friday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) approved Sinovac for emergency use on June 01, with the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing.
The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac.
According to a report issued by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) of the WHO on March 24, Sinovac is an aluminium-hydroxide-adjuvanted, inactivated whole virus vaccine.
The report said a large phase 3 trial in Brazil showed that two doses, administered at an interval of 14 days, had an efficacy of 51 percent (95 percent confidence interval (CI): 36–62 percent) against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, 100 percent (95 percent CI:17–100 percent) against severe COVID-19, and 100 percent (95 percent CI: 56–100 percnet) against hospitalisation starting 14 days after the second vaccination.
The recommended schedule is two doses (0.5 ml) with an interval of two to four weeks.
Sri Lanka’s National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approved for the vaccine for emergency use in the country on July 16.
Health authorities have given the first dose of one of the five vaccines in use in Sri Lanka to 13,690,202 while 10,867,900 have received both first and second doses.
Data issued by the health ministry’s epidemiology unitshowed that 92.7 percent of the above 30 years of age population have been completely vaccinated with both first and second doses.
Of the total population in the 20-29 age category, 36.7 percent have received the first dose while 12.4 percent have received both first and second doses.
Health officials said 120,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine are expected in the next week which will be use to complete the vaccination cycle of those who received the first dose in Kandy. (Colombo/Sep17/2021)