Obtaining COVID-19 vaccine expeditiously: GMOA seeks meeting with Health Ministry
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has requested a meeting with the Health Ministry during the course of the week, to discuss obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
GMOA Secretary, Dr. Senal Fernando, said they hope to raise several concerns related to a COVID-19 vaccine, quarantine process, treatment, and testing for the virus with relevant authorities.
With the number of COVID-19 patients exceeding 47,800 and the COVID-19 death toll at 229, a vaccine is possibly the only hope the people may have, he observed.
“However, the public should not forget to adhere to the basic health safety guidelines that have been issued by health authorities even when the country receives a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
GMOA Executive Committee Member, Dr. Haritha Aluthge, said the COVID-19 vaccine would not resolve all problems, even though people expect it to.
As it is, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not given the nod to any vaccine. It has only approved emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine owing to the world situation. He said in some instances, the COVID-19 vaccines were still under clinical trial.
He said the COVID-19 vaccine itself was still shrouded in questions which relate to its efficacy, dosage, preventive capability of not only preventing an individual from contacting the virus, but also its ability to prevent the spread of it from a patient who had been administered with it to others.
Dr. Aluthge said at least 70 per cent of the population should be administered with the vaccine, if there was to be “herd immunity.” Already, the WHO has pledged to provide vaccines for 20 per cent of the country’s population.
Therefore, there were issues as to how Sri Lanka was to purchase the remaining 50 per cent, which would facilitate a somewhat satisfactory immunity level within the population. He added, however, that according to reports, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had pledged to support Sri Lanka in this regard.