In a Zoom call with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday, May 7, World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has commended the Government for its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, adding that that his Organization is willing to extend its fullest support to the Government’s initiatives in this regard.
The fruitful Zoom discussion was held from the Presidential Secretariat.
Dr. Tedros commended President Rajapaksa for his leadership in controlling COVID-19 by successfully controlling the first wave of the pandemic. The WHO Director General said that Sri Lanka’s success was discussed many times at conferences held under the patronage of the WHO. The WHO Chief expressed the hope that the current surge in affected persons would soon be brought under control through effective measures.
Globally, there is a need for 20 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine for the second dose.
Sri Lanka is facing a shortage of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to complete the second dose for those who received the first dose in April. The second dose has to be given in 12 weeks.
The President said he hoped that the WHO would assist in meeting that urgent need. At the meeting it transpired that WHO approval for the China-made Sinopharm vaccine for Emergency Use would be given soon after the completion of evaluations.
A WHO Emergency Use listing is a signal to national regulators on a product’s safety and efficacy.
With that approval, Sri Lanka will be able to start vaccinating people with the Sinopharm vaccine as well.
It has already been given to around 4,000 Chinese nationals residing in Sri Lanka.
The President expressed his appreciation for the extensive support extended by the WHO for national health programmes through its regional and Colombo offices.