Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine granted emergency use approval in Sri Lanka

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA)  has granted approval for the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Covoid-19 in Sri Lanka.

State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana said the vaccine is expected to reach Sri Lanka soon.

He said that this was the first time the NMRA has approved a COVID-19 vaccine.

The State Minister said that the NMRA has received applications seeking approval for other COVID-19 vaccines as well.

Unlike Pfizer’s jab – which has to be kept at an extremely cold temperature (-70C) – the Oxford vaccine can be stored in a normal fridge. This makes it much easier to distribute.

Sri Lanka is likely to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India.

India’s drug regulator had given the green light to Covishield (the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK) and Covaxin, locally-made by pharma company Bharat Biotech.

India has already shipped tens of thousands of free doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to neighbouring countries in what is being widely described as “vaccine diplomacy”. (Colombo Gazette)