ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans to purchase 900,000 doses of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine by July this year, with prices to be negotiated by a cabinet appointed committee, a health official said.
The committee has already been appointed, State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) Chairman Dr Prasanna Gunasena told EconomyNext on May 10.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is one of the two pioneering jabs the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved for emergency use against COVID-19, the other being the Oxford-AstaZeneca vaccine, a version of which Sri Lanka has been rolling out in limited doses.
The Pfizer-BionTech jab has shown an efficacy of 95% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the WHO which approved it in December last year.
Sri Lanka’s own National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approved the jab for emergency use in Sri Lanka on May 07, with officials saying a purchase order for five million doses had already been made.
The WHO said on its website that the US-made vaccine is recommended for persons above the age of 16 and needs to be taken in two doses 21 to 28 days apart.
Sri Lanka is currently relying on three vaccines: AstraZeneca (under the Covishield brand manufactured in India), the Chinese Sinopharm, and the Russian Sputnik V. The Russian jab has yet to receive WHO approval for emergency use.
Health authorities have administered the first dose of one of these vaccines to 932,792 so far, out of which 925,242 received Covishield, 3,169 Sinopharm and 4,381 Sputnik V. (Colombo/May10/2021)