By Easwaran Rutnam
The quantity of vaccines the US is to allocate for Sri Lanka and the timeline by when it will be dispatched, has not yet been determined.
Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that there is also no sign of the US making the AstraZeneca vaccine available for Sri Lanka as the US Food and Drug Administration is yet to clear it for use.
“We were assured last month that Sri Lanka will receive from the 7 million doses the US has earmarked for south and south east Asia. Quantity and timeline not yet determined. No AstraZeneca so far available, as the FDA is yet to clear it for use,” a source told Colombo Gazette.
The United States had picked Sri Lanka, among other countries, to share 25 million coronavirus vaccines.
The White House said that the United States has received requests for vaccines from countries all over the world.
As a result, the US will share up to one-quarter of its donated doses directly with countries in need, those experiencing surges, immediate neighbors, and other countries that have requested immediate US assistance.
Sri Lanka had made a formal request to the US for vaccines to meet its urgent requirement, which included 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The White House said that the specific vaccines and amounts will be determined and shared as the Administration works through the logistical, regulatory and other parameters particular to each region and country.
“We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values. And we will continue to follow the science and to work in close cooperation with our democratic partners to coordinate a multilateral effort, including through the G7,” US President Joe Biden said.
The US announced the proposed allocation plan for the first 25 Million doses it will share.
Nearly 19 million will be shared through COVAX, with the approximately 7 million for Asia to countries and entities including Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands.
The White House said that the sharing of millions of US vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the US Government. (Colombo Gazette)