Daily Mirror - Print Edition

SL seeks two million more vaccine doses from China Expects part of it as a gift

11 May 2021 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • NMRA disrupts anti-pandemic cooperation with China by delaying clearance for Sinopharm vaccine 
  • China attaches priority to the request by Sri Lanka despite huge global demands for the products   

By Kelum Bandara   

Sri Lanka has asked for two million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from China for mass roll out here, Sri Lankan ambassador in Beijing Dr. Palitha Kohona said yesterday.    

Dr. Kohona told Daily Mirror that he made the request on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka. Asked whether it would be a donation, he expressed optimism that at least part of it would be delivered as a gift.   
He said Chinese vaccines were used in 62 countries.  

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) gave regulatory clearance for emergency use of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine last Saturday after the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed it. Earlier, China dispatched 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, but the experts committee of the NMRA delayed regulatory clearance for it for five weeks.   

Daily Mirror learns that the Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing recommended the government to place orders for further contingents of vaccines from China, but it did not materialise due to the NMRA delay in granting clearance for emergency use.   

The global rush for vaccine purchases remained low at that time. Sri Lanka could have secured stocks had it placed orders at that time.   

State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana, in a Facebook post, said ‘a foreign-influenced medical junta’ of the NMRA deliberately withheld clearance.   

Asked for a comment, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy said China attaches priority to the request by Sri Lanka despite huge global demands for the products.