Colombo, May 7 (Daily Mirror) – Sri Lanka is likely to roll out the Sinopharm vaccines manufactured by China by next week as the World Health Organisation is all set to announce its decision by the weekend or early next week, the Daily Mirror learns.
According to sources linked to the WHO, the expert committee of the WHO is likely to announce its decision strongly in favour of the vaccine to be listed under emergency use, after China had submitted all the necessary documents to the World Health body by December.
In a latest WHO report released on the Sinopharm, it expressed a ‘very high level of confidence’ on age groups between 18 and 59 years. But it expressed a ‘low level of confidence’ for age groups above 60 years. Following the latest announcement, it is now to be seen if the Health Ministry here will limit the vaccines to only ages between 18 to 59 following the WHO assessment.
The Daily Mirror learns that the thousands of Sinopharm vaccines which are presently lying in the warehouses in the country and which is carrying an expiry date of well over a year, will begin to be administered to the public as soon as the world body approves it under emergency use.
Each person will receive two doses similar to the AstraZeneca. “We would like the vaccine to be administered as soon as possible because the Sri Lankan people need it. Also, there are already 280 million people in China who have been administered the vaccines with a majority being inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine.
Also, more than 100 million doses of the Sinopharm has been sent out to the world, including in this region, like Pakistan. Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and even Afghanistan.all these countries have already started the vaccinations using this Chinese vaccines.
Beyond, even in ASEAN countries, Latin America, in the Middle East as well as Serbia and Hungary in Europe have begun to use it. More than 40 countries have approved the Sinopharm for emergency use and so far there is not a single severe side effect reported.
We believe the country has the right to roll out the vaccination,” a Spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in Colombo told Daily Mirror when contacted over the vaccinations.
“The 6 lakhs vaccines have been kept in the warehouses for over a month while the region and the world are fighting to get more vaccines,” the Spokesperson added. It is learnt that following a request by the Sri Lankan government and the NMRA, Sinopharm had provided detailed Phase Three Clinical Trial data to the NMRA in March. Both sides also had video conferences to clarify some questions to proceed with approvals.
However, with the WHO now on the verge of approving it under emergency use worldwide, the Health Ministry will await this decision to begin administering the vaccines.
A senior health official said that the NMRA had not approved the Sinopharm under emergency use in Sri Lanka due to the lack of the Phase three documents and also since no other strong regulatory body like the FDA or the European Commission or the Australian or Japanese Commissions had approved it.
“If this had happened, it would have given us a good reason to approve the Sinopharm here as well because that is what happened to Sputnik V which is yet to be approved by WHO for emergency use,” the senior official said.