ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry has extended the expiry date of the Pfizer Covid 19 vaccines already imported by three months on the recommendation of World Health Organization (WHO), Health Ministry said.
Ministry of Health in a statement said the Director of Regulation and Prequalification Department of WHO has communicated to the Director of the UNICEF Supply Division that the shelf life of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine with unopened vials stored at temperatures between -90 to -60 degree Celsius.has been recommended to extended to 12 months from the earlier 9 months.
Upon the recommendation, the Ministry has officially extended the Pfizer vaccines vials received under FN 5436, FN 2898, FM 9281 and FM 5450 batches till 31.10.2022 from the initial date of expiry of 31.07.2022.
Sri Lanka has bought 18 million Pfizer vials as normal and booster doses. The Health Ministry has already recommended for people above 20 years to have the 2nd booster amid a lukewarm response from the public. The government officials have raised concerns of millions of balance vaccines expiring by end of this month.
In the initial phase, health authorities vaccinated 17.1 million people with the first dose mainly with Chinese Sinopharm and 14.5 million people have been administered with the second dose.
The booster dose was only administered to 8 million people and the second booster dose has been administered to only 15,280 so far.
Sri Lanka has seen a spike in the Covid-19 cases and deaths again since early this month, after relaxation of health restrictions. The health officials have now urged the public to wear masks again in indoor events as well as when traveling in public transport.
The fourth dose is still being administered in all national hospitals and Medical Officer of Health (MOH) offices in all areas. (Colombo/July 26/2022)