May 01, 2021

Indonesia, Bangladesh approve Sinopharm jab

Bangladesh's drug regulator has authorized the emergency use of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
Major General Mahbubur Rahman, Director General of Bangladesh's Directorate General of Drug Administration made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday in the capital Dhaka.

Mahbubur Rahman further said that hopefully within 1-1.5 weeks, Bangladesh will receive a batch of Sinopharm vaccine.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's drug regulator on Friday approved the COVID-19 vaccine of China's Sinopharm, which it will use in a private immunisation scheme where companies buy government-procured vaccines to inoculate their staff.

After Sinovac Biotech (SVA.O) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L), Sinopharm is the third company to have its vaccine approved by Indonesia, which is seeking to inoculate 181.5 million people by January 2022.

WHO to assess Chinese vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet between this week and next week to assess the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines developed by Sinopharm and Sinovac for the WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure, according to a WHO official and recent media reports.

"We do have an advisory group meeting today, and it will meet the next days to assess Sinopharm," said Mariangela Batista Galvao Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, at a briefing on Monday.

"We will be assessing Sinovac" on May 05, she said, adding "we expect that for Sinopharm we will have a decision before the end of this week, and Sinovac most likely by the end of next week."

If approved, the Chinese vaccines would be the first from a non-western country to gain approval from the global health agency, said a Reuters report on Tuesday.
SL awaiting WHO approval
At the request of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka received a batch of Sinopharm vaccines in March. However, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) is awaiting WHO approval to give the green light for the vaccine to be used on local masses.
Speaking at a special media conference in Colombo this week, Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga said they believe the Chinese jab would receive WHO approval within a maximum of 02 weeks.

"What we have been told by the WHO is that it will come in the first week of May... So if that is the case, we have at hand around 600,000 (of course we have used around 4,000 of those for Chinese nationals here)... We have about roughly 590,000 plus vaccines which we can use on our own population, he added."

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