CCPSL irked by Govt’s non-adherence

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Feb 23 2021

The College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka (CCPSL) yesterday (22), expressed its displeasure about non-adherence to the COVID-19 vaccine programme prepared according to basic scientific principles.

In a statement, the College urged the Government to adhere to the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (NACCD) and urgently implement the scientifically -recommended vaccine priority list, rather than taking ad hoc decisions on vaccination policy. 

The College said the key objective of the vaccination programme across the globe is to minimise severe disease and thereby the deaths due to it. Prioritisation is extremely important, as there is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe (as indicated by the Vaccine Prioritisation Framework on the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation of the World Health Organization) and there is no clear timeline available for the delivery of the required doses of the vaccine to countries. 

The College said it was mandatory to use the available vaccine in the best way, to optimise the outcome to Sri Lanka. Therefore, the first priority group identified in the National Vaccine Development Plan (NVDP) was to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and those directly involved in COVID-19 control activities. This was completed in the first round of vaccination. The remaining priority group includes those over 60 years of age – specifically those suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs). 

The CCPSL said the decision of the Health Ministry to initiate vaccination targeting individuals of 30 to 60 years, which was implemented in a few selected communities, is a clear deviation from the scientifically agreed prioritisation stated in the NVDP. “This strategy is neither an evidence-based practice nor public health response to COVID-19, especially with regard to the objective of reduction of complications and death due to COVID-19,” it said. 

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Feb 23 2021

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