India welcomes emergency use approval of COVISHIELD vaccines in Sri Lanka
Posted on January 22nd, 2021

Courtesy Adaderana

The Government of Sri Lanka has conveyed that approval was granted for the emergency use of COVISHIELD vaccines, says the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka.

In a tweet posted today (January 22), the High Commission said this clears the way to schedule the delivery of vaccines from India to the island nation.

Welcome emergency use approval of COVISHIELD vaccines by Government of Sri Lanka. This clears the way for scheduling delivery of the vaccine from #India to #lka. #VaccineMaitri #AffordableVaccine4All”

COVISHIELD is the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the United Kingdom.

The shots developed by UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University are being manufactured at India’s Serum Institute – world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

The vaccine, which is known as COVISHIELD, is developed from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees.

It is administered in two shots – the second dose must be taken four to six weeks following the first.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, which require 70C temperature for storage, COVISHIELD can be safely stored at temperatures of 2C to 8C, which is about the same as a domestic refrigerator.

India on Wednesday (January 20) began supplying Covid-19 vaccines to six neighbouring and key partner countries. Thereby, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles became the first recipients of India-manufactured vaccines.

India stated that it was still awaiting the confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius.

However, State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana confirmed earlier today (January 22) that the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has approved the emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine jabs in Sri Lanka.

External Affairs Ministry (MEA) of India noted that several requests were received regarding the supply of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by them.

India’s drug regulator recently gave the green light to roll out COVISHIELD and COVAXIN, locally-made by pharma company Bharat Biotech.

India kicked off its own massive inoculation drive on the 17th of January, with a goal of vaccinating 300 million of its nearly 1.4 billion people.

The vaccines supplied to neighbouring countries are sent as grants and India’s External Affairs Ministry said the vaccines were not part of COVAX – the United Nations-backed global effort aimed at lower-income nations to obtain the jabs.

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