Another Approved Vaccine May be Used – Prof. Seneviratne
By Buddhika Samaraweera
If administration of the second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine continues to be delayed due to lack of stocks, another approved vaccine available in the country could be used as a second dose, said Prof. Suranjith Seneviratne, Professor and Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Allergy at the Royal Free Hospital and University College London. However, he emphasised it was imperative that such a vaccine be approved by a national or global regulatory body.
According to him, if a vaccine for COVID-19 is approved by a global regulatory body such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHPRA) in the UK or any otherrelevantlocal authority, the vaccine can be substituted for the second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine, in the context of Sri Lanka. In addition to the COVISHIELD vaccine, only Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine and US-made PfizerBiotech vaccine have been approved for emergency use in Sri Lanka by local authorities.
Currently, various vaccines have been approved for use in different countries. For example, the Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the United Kingdom, and Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have been approved for use in Germany and the United States. When inquired as to how the decision should be reached on the matter, Prof. Seneviratne said it was up to the health authorities in each country to decide which vaccine should be given instead of the first dose of a particular vaccine, of which the second dose is not available.