President wants process expedited to approve Sinopharm

By Easwaran Rutnam 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants the Sinopharm vaccine given emergency use approval in Sri Lanka, by expediting the required process.

The President has instructed the health authorities to expedite the process to approve the use of the Chinese vaccine in Sri Lanka, State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle told Daily Mirror.

President Rajapaksa had given the instructions at a meeting held yesterday (Monday) attended by Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle and other Ministers and officials.

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) had been awaiting more data from the Chinese manufacturer to approve the vaccine.

Dr. Fernandopulle said that the Sinopharm vaccine will be approved for use in Sri Lanka after the NMRA completes the due process.

So far, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine have been approved for use in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said that the President had also given instructions to use some of the vaccines obtained via the COVAX facility in high risk areas.

The first batch of coronavirus vaccines from the COVAX facility arrived in Sri Lanka recently while the next batch is due in stages until May 2021, subject to the availability from manufacturers and authorization by WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

Dr. Fernandopulle said that the vaccines will be used to inoculate individuals above the age of 60 in Grama Niladhari Divisions with a high load of infected persons.

The President had also instructed the officials to give the jab to permanent and temporary residents employed at factories and institutions in selected Grama Niladhari Divisions.