Sri Lanka says talks to purchase coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech have been successful and a final agreement is expected to be reached soon.
State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, Professor Channa Jayasumana said that the US based company has offered to supply vaccines in special storage equipment during transportation.
The Pfizer vaccine requires storage facilities with minus 70 degrees refrigeration, a facility which the Sri Lanka Government does not have.
However, Professor Channa Jayasumana said that the matter had been discussed with the manufacturer and the manufacturer has now offered a solution.
He said that the company is ready to provide facilities to transport the vaccines to storage facilities while maintaining the minus 70 degrees refrigeration.
Professor Channa Jayasumana also said that it has been found that vaccines manufactured by the company can be stored in normal refrigeration for approximately a week.
As a result, he said that steps will be taken to import the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech to Sri Lanka soon.
Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech announced a breakthrough yesterday (Friday) saying that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved storage of the Pfizer manufactured COMIRNATY® vaccine at -25°C to -15°C for a total of two weeks based on data showing the stability at these temperatures in standard pharmaceutical freezers.
COMIRNATY® is manufactured by Pfizer Europe and efficacy shown in clinical trials in participants with or without evidence of prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 and who received the full series of vaccine (2 doses) was approximately 95% based on a median follow-up of two months.
Pfizer said the new data is a testament to the companies’ ongoing commitment to developing this vaccine further and collecting data in order to support broader and more flexible vaccine distribution and inoculation. (By Easwaran Rutnam)