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Sunday June 20th, 2021
Health

WHO chief to help Sri Lanka secure more AstraZeneca: President Rajapaksa

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing on COVID-19, the novel coronavirus in Geneva.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has reached out to World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom to help meet the country’s AstraZeneca vaccine requirement for some 600,000 citizens awaiting their second shot against COVID-19.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa expressed his belief today that Tedros will “make effort to fulfill Sri Lanka’s need” for the doses, following a discussion held with the latter via Zoom.

President Rajapaksa further said that it transpired at the Zoom meeting that WHO will approve the China-manufactured Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use in another two to three days.

“With that approval, Sri Lanka will be able to start vaccinating our people with the current stock of 600,000 Sinopharm doses in hand,” the president said.

The president’s tweets came a day after State Minister Prof Channa Jayasumana said Sri Lanka would rely on the Russia-made Sputnik V jab as the country’s primary vaccine against the virus while discussions would continue with other governments to secure more AstraZeneca.

Related: Sri Lanka to rely on Sputnik V, as search continues for more AstraZeneca

State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle told EconomyNext yesterday that authorities are looking at every possible avenue to acquire more vaccines.

“There are countries that have purchased and stored excess consignments of the AstraZeneca jab. We’re talking to those governments to see if we can acquire vaccines from them,” she said.

Sri Lanka’s National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has yet to approve Sinopharm for emergency use in Sri Lanka.

The country received 600,000 doses of the vaccine on March 31 as a donation from the Chinese government. (Colombo/May07/2021)

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