Key data on effectiveness of Covid vaccines in Sri Lanka soon

By Easwaran Rutnam

Key data on the effectiveness of Covid vaccines currently used in Sri Lanka, against new variants, is to be submitted to the relevant authorities soon, Daily Mirror learns.

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura is conducting research on the effectiveness of the vaccines and the data is expected to be released in approximately one month, well informed sources told Daily Mirror on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMA) yesterday urged Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to expand research on the Covid variants.

GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr Naveen De Soyza told Daily Mirror that there are concerns over the effectiveness of the current vaccines.

He said that the vaccines were developed for the original Covid virus and not the current variants.

As a result, he said scientific and multi analysis must be carried out to study the variants and the effectiveness of the vaccines against them.

Dr Naveen De Soyza said that at a meeting held with the Health Minister yesterday (Friday) the GMOA urged the Minister to carry out testing at the Ministry instead of only depending on the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

He said that the Health Ministry has a number of experts working under them whose expertise can be made better use of.

Dr Naveen De Soyza said that the GMOA also requested the Health Minister to ensure better management at the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health.

New research conducted in Bahrain has noted that the emergence of new SARS-COV-2 variants across the world has raised concerns about the effectiveness of available COVID-19 vaccines that were designed against the original Wuhan (wild type) variant.

The study conducted by Research Square found that despite the overall effectiveness of the Astrazeneca (AZ/ Covishield), Pfizer/biontech, Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines in decreasing the risk of COVID 19 related hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths when compared to unvaccinated individuals, initial analysis showed that there was a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and clinical escalation among recipients of the Sinopharm vaccine compared to other vaccine recipients.

“Our overall findings support the value of vaccination in preventing COVID-19 related events even with the advent of the Delta variant. These data support the urgent need to expand vaccination access around the world, and may serve to guide the choice of vaccines in the context of the Delta variant,” Research Square said.

Meanwhile, the US is preparing to distribute Covid-19 booster shots next month as new data shows that vaccine protection wanes over time.

Health experts in the US have said that with the dominance of the Delta variant, it is now very clear that immunity starts to fall after the initial two doses of the vaccine.

Sri Lanka has also been studying the need to offer booster shots (third dose), but no final decision has been taken.

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