Sri Lanka may receive 264,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine from the World Health Organisation (WHO)-co-led COVAX facility in the “near future” subject to certain conditions, a health official said
Sri Lanka may receive 264,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine from the World Health Organisation (WHO)-co-led COVAX facility in the “near future” subject to certain conditions, a health official said.
Deputy Director of Health Services Hemantha Herath told EconomyNext that a letter sent by the WHO has mentioned several conditions to be met before sending the consignment.
“Until we fulfill those requirements we cannot say for sure that they will send the consignment or when,” he said.
Sri Lanka received 264,000 doses earlier this year from the COVAX facility. With another one million doses of the vaccine that was purchased from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Sri Lanka began its COVID-19 vaccination drive in January 2021.
So far 925,242 people including frontline health workers and military personnel have received the first dose of AstraZeneca.
The SII discontinued its supply of the vaccine, manufactured under the brand Covishield, as it had to meet growing demand in India that was seeing a surge in cases.
Sri Lankan authorities have administered the second shot of Covishield to 356,610 people, with some 600,000 awaiting their second jab.
Several countries have started mixing the AstraZeneca jab with the US-manufactured Pfizer-BionTech vaccine or the Moderna as the second dose.
Neelika Malavige, Professor in Microbiology at the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura told the privately-owned Derana network on June 15 that mix-n-match trials of AstraZeneca with Pfizer or Moderna in the UK and elsewhere have shown positive results.
Trials with AstraZeneca and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine have also been conducted, but the data is not available yet, she said.
The Ministry of Health will also immediately run a trial with the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm jab.
Herath meanwhile said discussions are now underway about the possibility of conducting these trials.
Meanwhile, health authorities have already made agreements with the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc to acquire five million Pfizer vaccines by the end of 2021 along with 14 million doses of Sinopharm and 13 million doses of the Russia-made Sputnik V.