Lankan MP criticises govt for buying Chinese COVID-19 vaccine not approved by WHO

ANI
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Representative image
Representative image

Colombo [Sri Lanka], April 6 (ANI): Amid the controversy surrounding the Sinopharm vaccine, a Sri Lankan parliamentarian has said that Colombo has brought the Chinese made COVID-19 vaccine to the country without the approval of the World Health Organisation (WHO) showing disregard for the lives of their people.

Manusha Nanayakkara, an opposition leader from Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) party, on Sunday had said that four members of the country's medicine regulatory authority had to leave because they did not approve the Chinese vaccine, Colombo Page reported.

"The government delayed the importation of the corona vaccine. Our experts say that the approval of the World Health Organisation has not been granted for the corona vaccine from China. However, when the doctors and officials of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority said they could not approve the Chinese vaccine, the government asked them to resign. That is how four people resigned refusing to approve the vaccine," Nanayakkara said.

"After that, a doctor who is not even in Sri Lanka has been appointed as the chairman. Who appointed this chairman? The son of the former chairman of the Southern Provincial Council has been appointed as the chairman of NMRA. After that permission has been given to import the Chinese vaccine to Sri Lanka," the SJB MP added.

He further said that senior medical practitioners, both in the government and private sectors, have expressed concerns over the use of the Chinese vaccine, adding that country's regulatory authority, which is the decision-making body for the importation of drugs into Sri Lanka has been politicised as well.

Sri Lanka's senior medical experts have stated that the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, which were given by Beijing, should not be used on Sri Lankan nationals, according to a report published in Daily Mirror.

A consignment of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines given by Beijing reached Colombo last Wednesday.

Earlier, Sri Lanka's Cabinet co-spokesperson Dr Ramesh Pathirana had said that the WHO and NMRA have not yet approved the use of the vaccine.

The vaccine has been evaluated by the regulatory authority based on the information it has received so far, the Minister said while adding that there is a delay in evaluating the Phase 4 clinical trial results.

"Phase 4 clinical trial results are not available in the English language and that is why the WHO has not given its recommendation to use the vaccine universally. The moment we get the approval we can use it on Sri Lankans as well," Pathirana had said.

The country has so far reported over 93,000 COVID-19 cases and around 600 deaths. (ANI)