The Covishield Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is being used to inoculate health workers and members of the general public is effective against the new UK COVID-19 variant which has been detected in Sri Lanka, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, WHO Director General's Special Envoy to coordinate the global response to COVID-19 told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
Dr. Abeykoon said the WHO is expected to today, list the Astra Zeneca vaccine under 'emergency use' after which an estimated 1.7 million doses will arrive in Sri Lanka by the end of the month. This is one third of the WHO'S pledge to provide 4 million vaccines to the Sri Lankan government free of charge, under its COVAX facility.
Dr. Abeykoon said that blanket statements stating that the Astra Zeneca was not effective on the new UK variant was inaccurate and according to his knowledge this vaccine was found to be effective.
"There are no issues with the Astra Zeneca against this new UK variant. The only issue is that it has been alleged that the Astra Zeneca is not working well with the South African variant but Sri Lanka has not detected the South African variant. But even that story from South Africa is very tentative," Dr. Abeykoon said.(JAMILA HUSAIN)