Coronavirus: Sri Lanka to order 7 million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V
Colombo, Mar 24: The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday announced that it will order 7 million doses of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V worth over USD 69 million. The Cabinet approved a proposal to purchase 7 million doses of the vaccine at a cost of over USD 69 million, it was announced in a Cabinet note.
The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approved the Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use in Sri Lanka based on recommendations by a Cabinet-appointed negotiation committee, it said.
The vaccine is yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation despite the fact that it has been approved by 39 countries for emergency use, according to health officials.
The NMRA, meanwhile, announced that it had withdrawn the approval it had previously given for the emergency use of the China-manufactured Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. State Minister for Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation Prof Channa Jayasumana said that the NMRA had approved the vaccine for emergency use along with the India-manufactured Covishield and Russia's Sputnik Vaccines.
Jayasumana said the 600,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine will arrive in Sri Lanka soon. "They have already confirmed the donation and we expect it to arrive in the next two weeks," Jayasumana said.
The state minister for COVID prevention Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle said the Chinese vaccine will be provided only to the Chinese nationals following a request from the Chinese Embassy.
The Chief Epidemiologist Dr Sudath Smaraweera said the Chinese vaccine will not be rolled out without the approval for emergency use. Sri Lanka rolled out its vaccination programme in late January after receiving India's gift of 500,000 doses of Covishield.
Sri Lanka had by Tuesday administered the vaccines to over 840,000 people, officials said. According to Johns Hopkins University coronavirus data, Sri Lanka has reported 90,765 COVID-19 cases and 552 deaths.