WHO VACCINE: NO MANUFACTURER RESPONSIBILITY WITHIN LEGAL FRAMEWORK

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The World Health Organization (WHO) will provide the COVID-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka within a legal framework, where the manufacturing companies will not hold any responsibility for the vaccines, Lalith Weeratunga, the Adviser to the President told media on Sunday.

The United Nations will bear the cost of the respective doses of vaccines to be supplied to Sri Lanka.

All options to obtain a vaccine, including the possibility of a government to government donation is being explored; and extensive discussions are ongoing, Weeratunga said.

Adviser to the President Lalith Weeratunga, together with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle and State Minister of Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana will hold extensive discussions with the World Health Organization on the procurement of a COVID-19 vaccine to Sri Lanka.

According to Weeratunga, Sri Lanka is more likely to obtain the three vaccines, Sputnik V – produced in Russia, Sinovac – made in China, and AstraZeneca which was discovered by Oxford University.

The AstraZeneca vaccine discovered by the University of Oxford is already being manufactured at five factories in India.

Preliminary discussions are ongoing with India to obtain the vaccine, Adviser to the President, Lalith Weeratunga said.

India’s primary plan is to vaccinate 300 million Indians.

Accordingly, Lalith Weeratunga was confident that India would be able to provide the vaccine to Sri Lanka, either free of charge or at a concessionary cost.

As soon as the inoculation process begins in India, Sri Lanka could gain a better understanding of the possible side effects of the vaccine, since the climate and weather conditions in the two states are quite similar, Weeratunga further said.