Sri Lanka approves vaccine due to warnings of virus spread
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved by Sri Lanka. This will be used against Covid-19 amid warnings from doctors that frontline health workers should be quickly vaccinated to stop the system from collapsing.
According to Minister for Pharmaceutical Production and Regulation, Channa Jayasumana, the British vaccine has been approved for emergency use. This is the first vaccine to be approved in Sri Lanka. Several other candidates are in the pipeline at the National Medicines Regulatory Authority.
A doctor from the largest doctors’ trade union in the country said that the system was collapsing with time. Dr. Haritha Aluthge from Government Medical Officers’ Association, said, “Hundreds of health care workers are tested positive in several hospitals. When you have one positive case about 10 health workers will need to be sent on quarantine. System is collapsing day by day. ”
Aluthge added, “Vaccines need to be given quickly to keep the health workers’ morals up and we need health workers to treat patients.”
It is still unknown when Sri Lanka might be able to get supplies.
For approximately 2 months no cases were recorded in the community. But random tests lead to a new cluster. This random test was done on a factory worker. An eatery owner near country’s main fish market told the authorities that there was a rise in the sale of paracetamol. This indicated that people were suffering from fever, hence the rise in sale.
The second cluster was found after testing fish vendors.
In over 3 months, Sri Lanka reported more than 52,000 new patients and 260 deaths. On daily basis, 500-900 new cases are being recorded.
The secretary of Government Medical Officers’ Association, Senal Fernando, said, “We were a success story, but the issue was we all as Sri Lankans forgot Covid-19 was existing. We thought that Covid was over.”
Doctors said that everyone including officials and the public forgot about the existence of the virus and this complacency lead to a new outbreak.