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Sunday June 20th, 2021
Health

Sri Lanka approves Pfizer-BionTech jab for emergency use; five million doses ordered

The Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 vaccine / Image credit: Flickr

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in Sri Lanka and a purchase order for five million doses has already been made, a spokesperson said.

State Minister Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle’s media secretary confirmed to EconomyNext that the NMRA’s advisory panel granted its approval for the jab today (07).

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is one of the two pioneering jabs the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved  for emergency use, the other being the Oxford-AstaZeneca vaccine that Sri Lanka used to inoculate some 900,000 people including frontline workers.

The WHO gave approved the Pfizer jab for emergency use on December 31 last year.

The vaccine is produced by the US-base Pfizer pharmaceutical company and has shown an efficacy of 95% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to multiple reports.

WHO has said the vaccine is recommended its use for persons above the age of 16. It needs to be taken in two doses with an interval of 21-28 days after the first dose.

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi said in parliament earlier this week that the government plans to purchase seven million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in total next year if it fails to buy them this year, and discussions are under way with multiple manufacturers to acquire more vaccines.

The minister said talks were also under way with the US Embassy in Sri Lanka with a view to signing purchase agreements.

State Pharmaceutical Corporation Chairman Dr Prasanna Gunasena in an earlier report said Pfizer Inc, the multinational pharmaceutical giant has communicated to the SPC that between April to June, 35,000 doses will be delivered to Sri Lanka, followed by 105,000 from July to September and 4.8 million from October to December. (Colombo/ May 07/2021)

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