Sri Lanka to conduct trials to use Covid vaccine

Sri Lanka is to conduct trials to use the coronavirus vaccine once it is obtained.

Health Service Deputy Director General Dr. Hemantha Herath told reporters today that preparations are underway to stage trials at three separate locations in the Western Province.

Health authorities today finalized preparations for the trials to be conducted at the Piliyandala Medical Officer of Health Department, Piliyandala Divisional Hospital, and the Colombo North Teaching Hospital in Ragama.

The three separate trials will be conducted tomorrow at the designated locations.

Dr. Hemantha Herath said the trials will help health authorities identify the shortcomings in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

It will also enable health authorities to ascertain the number of vaccines that can be administered within an hour and during the course of a day.

He said the trials will help health authorities to improve the existing plan drafted in view of the vaccination process.

The Health Ministry is prepared to receive the most suitable vaccination from the most cost -effective manufacturer at any given time at present.

Dr. Hemantha Herath said all measures with regard to the storage of the vaccines, distribution centres and process are currently being improved and fine-tuned.

The Health Ministry has identified healthcare workers and other individuals deployed as frontline workers for Covid-related duties as the first vulnerable group to receive the vaccine.

The Health Service Deputy Director General said they will be the first group to be vaccinated once Sri Lanka receives the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines.

Last week, State Minister of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention, Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said Sri Lanka is to obtain the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines in February 2021.

She said the Oxford-AstraZeneca is to be obtained through India and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) today granted approval for the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Covoid-19 in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)