Former JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa today alleged that seven members of the Sri Lanka Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) were removed by the Health Minister for not approving China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
He told a news conference that the expert committee appointed by the NMRA to study China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine has not approved it,since, the Chinese manufacturer had failed to provide necessary details about the vaccine.
He said the expert committee wanted response to eleven questions from the Chinese Company, whereas it had responded to only one question.
Dr. Jayatissa said the Chinese manufacturer has failed to provide satisfactory information as to whether the vaccine had been tested on people above 60 years of age, test reports of the third stage of the vaccine and the report of the formation of antibodies after administering the vaccine.
'That was why the NMRA has not granted the approval to the Chinese vaccine,” he said.
He said when the expert committee had refused to approve the vaccine,what the
government and the Health Minister did was to remove seven members from the NMRA.
Dr. Jayatissa said, if the government acted to use a COVID-19 vaccine which was not approved by the global health authorities and the NMRA, it could create short and long term health issues.
"This is a serious situation. It will create short term issues in controlling COVID-19. On the long run, people will lose confidence on the vaccination programme in general. The similar situation was experienced in the Philippines where an epidemic of measles spread in 2019," he said.
Dr. Jayatissa said during a global pandemic such as this, the government should provide the people with the best vaccines which is widely recognised globally.
"We warn the government not to play with people's lives. People should not fall prey to the conceitedness of the Ministers of the government," he said. (Ajith Siriwardana)