Sri Lanka makes progress in approving Pfizer vaccine, data awaited from China, Russia

FRONTLINE: A nurse in Sri Lanka getting ready to vaccinate fellow health workers.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has made progress in analyzing data on a vaccine produced by Pfizer as a ‘good one’ based on analysis of data so far, but more information is needed to authorize vaccines from China and Russia, where data has been requested, an official said.

Sri Lanka has already given authority for emergency use of a vaccine from AstraZeneca.

Sri Lanka’s National Medical Regulatory Authority is evaluating vaccines through a standard process, Ananda Wijewickrama, a consultant from Sri Lanka’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases said.

A committee of specialists had requested more information from the companies producing Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines, he said.

“More data is required. We have rquested those companies to quickly submit the data,” Wijewickrama said.

“So we are awaiting this data. Last week Sinopharm sent some data. We quickly assessed that. And then we requested additional data. We asked them for data quickly.”

For approval companies had to follow World Health Organization mandated procedure and also studies, he said.

Progress has been made in the case of a Pfizer vaccine. Wijewickrama said the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation has had discussions with the firm.

“That is a good vaccine we have decided,” he said. “But the problem is that it has been ordered by many countries and stock are not available. So there is a problem in getting vaccine quickly.”

Sri Lanka had so far issued formal approved for emergency use only the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Sri Lanka has started vaccination of health, police and military officials using 500,000 free AztraZeneca vaccines given by India.

Sri Lanka is expecting stocks under the Covax initiative in late February of the first week of March.

Sri Lanka had the capacity to vaccinate 600,000 persons a day via 2,000 centres, Deputy Director of Health Hemanthe Perera said. (Colombo/Feb09/2021)

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