Asia

SL approves Sinovac for emergency use

A man works in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing

Sri Lanka’s National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has approved the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the island nation.

Accordingly, all Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) can now be used in Sri Lanka, State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana said on Friday.

To date, Sri Lanka has administered over 4 million first doses of the coronavirus vaccines across the country, with the majority having received the Sinopharm vaccines.

Thirty six per cent of the population above the age of 30 years in Sri Lanka have been administered with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, Health Promotion Bureau (HPB) Director Ranjith Batuwanthudawa said on Thursday.

In capital Colombo, one of the worst affected by the virus, 70 per cent of the target population have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 25 per cent have received both doses, Batuwanthudawa said.

Last week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had put forward a comprehensive mechanism for vaccinating a majority of the Sri Lankan population before September.

Rajapaksa said the amount of coronavirus vaccines scheduled to be received in July will be made available to the public, and the districts identified as high-risk areas for spreading the coronavirus will be given priority in vaccine distribution.

Sri Lanka is presently under the a third wave of the pandemic with authorities warning of a further spread of the Delta variant.

The country has to date recorded 282,060 confirmed coronavirus cases, while 3,702 deaths have been reported.


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