Colombo [Sri Lanka], April 10 (ANI): China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine will not be given to Sri Lankans until the safety aspect of the vaccine is ensured by the health authorities, the country's Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi has said.
In response to questions raised by the Opposition, Pavithra told the Sri Lankan Parliament on Thursday that their regulatory authority had been analyzing data on the vaccine to ensure the safety of the vaccine, Daily Mirror reported.
The minister also said that only the Chinese nationals were given the vaccine at present, adding that Sri Lankans will be given only after the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved it for emergency use.
This statement comes amid growing criticism of the Chinese vaccine.
Last week, a Sri Lankan parliamentarian had said that Colombo has brought the Chinese made Covid-19 vaccine to the country without the approval of the 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 had said.
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.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's Cabinet co-spokesperson Dr Ramesh Pathirana had said that the WHO and their regulatory authority have not yet approved the use of the vaccine. (ANI)