600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine gifted by China to Sri Lanka were handed over to Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China on Tuesday, March 30.
Chen Song, Deputy Director-General of the Asia Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, handed over the vaccines.
The gift of vaccines was made in response to a written request made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
The National Medicines Regulatory Authority announced that is granted permission to accept the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines from China.
However, the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) in a statement said an independent panel of experts consisting of eminent medical specialists appointed by the NMRA to review all submissions related to candidate vaccines concluded that the Sinopharm vaccine should not be used in Sri Lanka under the present circumstances.
The independent panel of experts had made this clear in their report of 17.03.2021, after reviewing all the data made available by the manufacturer of Sinopharm, stated the Association of Medical Specialists.
The panel concluded that there is insufficient data provided to make a determination on the safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity of the Sinopharm vaccine and accordingly concluded that the Sinopharm vaccine should not be used in Sri Lanka.
“Despite this clear recommendation of a properly-constituted independent expert advisory panel, we are concerned about reports that a newly reconstituted Board of the NMRA appears to have taken an unprecedented step to disregard the expert panel opinion and allowed the import of the said vaccine to be used in Sri Lankans,” stated the Association of Medical Specialists.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is yet to approve the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine.