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Sri Lanka puts Chinese Sinopharm on hold, to use India-manufactured vaccine



Sri Lanka has put Chinese Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine on hold and will use India-manufactured Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to inoculate 14 million people, a government spokesperson has said. 

According to Cabinet co-spokesman, Dr Ramesh Pathirana, the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm has not yet completed phase 3 clinical trials, reported Daily Mirror. Dr Pathirana further said that the complete dossier pertaining to the registration of Chinese vaccine has also not yet been received. Dr Ramesh Pathirana said that Sri Lanka will depend mostly on the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.  

“For the time being, we need to go with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The moment we receive full documentation from the Chinese manufacturer, we can consider registering it,” Daily Mirror quoted Pathirana as saying. 

However, he said that registering the Sinopharm vaccine may take time as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to approve it. “It is still under review,” he said.  

The official added that even the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is yet to be approved as a result of which Sri Lanka may be compelled to depend on AstraZeneca to inoculate all 14 million people, Daily Mirror reported.  

The Sri Lankan cabinet approved the purchase of 10 million doses of ‘Made in India’ AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine from the SII for USD 52.5 million, local media reported. 

Sri Lanka is not the only country that has expressed its concerns over the lack of information on Chinese-made vaccines. Earlier, it was reported that Sri Lankan authorities will begin inoculating the general public against the Covid-19 from next month. 

In the month of January, the Sinovac vaccine was found to be far less effective than vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, according to a Brazilian government statement. 

The efficacy of the Chinese-made vaccine was also found to be 50.38 per cent in Brazil’s late-stage trials. 

(With agency inputs) 

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