By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe
Sri Lanka’s senior medical experts have stated that Sinopharm vaccines which were given by China should not be used on
Sri Lankan nationals.
Senior medical practitioners both in the government and private sectors have expressed concerns over using 600,000 vaccines given to Sri Lanka.
The Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) in a statement signed by AMS President, Consultant Surgeon Dr. Lalantha Ranasinghe said that an independent panel of experts was appointed by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) to review all submissions related to candidate vaccines and provide scientific advice for emergency use approval in Sri Lanka.
“We are also aware that in their report dated March 17, 2021, that the panel concluded that there is insufficient data provided to make a determination on the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the Sinopharm vaccine. This observation was made after reviewing all data made available by the manufacturer of the vaccine. It was accordingly concluded that the Sinopharm vaccine should not be used in Sri Lanka under the present circumstances,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, International Medical Researcher and Director at Institute of Health Policy Dr. Ravindra Rannan-Eliya also observed that Sinopharm, or more precisely SPC, did not provide adequate information. “I would not approve it for local use until that is done and the information satisfies regulatory concerns.
I note also that Hong Kong has not approved it either.
However Hong Kong has approved Sinovac, and the Sri Lankan government should have asked Sinovac to also submit an application. My guess is that their documentation is adequate to get approval, since the HK regulators did approve it.”
When contacted, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said that vaccines will be given only to Chinese nationals in areas such as Colombo, Kandy, Puttalam and Hambantota and that the authorities are awaiting approval from WHO prior to administering the vaccine to the general public.
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