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.
Had a useful zoom discussion with @DrTedros. I believe he will make effort to fulfil #lka need for 600,000 doses of #AstraZeneca for the 2nd dose of vaccination.
Globally, there is a need for 20 million doses of the #AstraZeneca for the 2nd dose.
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) May 7, 2021
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.
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)