2020 Nov 10
Global statistics as of 9th November 2020 shows that the number of confirmed cases has passed the 50 million mark, with the number of deaths recorded over 1.2 million. Sri Lanka too is experiencing rapid growth in the number of patients testing positive, in what is now come to be known as the “second wave”. The island crossed its 14,000 mark on the 9th of November with 8,880 recoveries, 5,369 active cases and 36 deaths.
Large pharmaceutical names from around the world are in a race for the development of a vaccine that could potentially put an end to this global pandemic. A few of the key contenders in this race for humanity are Novavx, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi GCK and Moderna. However, taking the lead is the joint venture company between American multinational Pfizer and German BioNTech SE. The company announced in a press release, that they have succeeded in phase 3 of their clinical trials; which has proved to be effective in preventing the transmission of the virus to 90% of its previously uninfected subjects.
In line with these developments, the World Health Organisation has agreed to provide a developed vaccine to 20% of Sri Lanka’s population in due time.
Chief Scientist of the WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan had stated earlier that a vaccine can be expected in the country no sooner than the first quarter of 2021. As such, the organisation had informed the Minister of Health, Ms. Pavithra Wanniarachchi to prepare the country for the use of this vaccine.
As per a press release, a special discussion led by Ms. Wanniarachchi was held on the 9th of November with regard to this announcement from the WHO. The meeting took place with the participation of a number of officials, including State Minister Channa Jayasumana and Dr. Raiza Pendse, Sri Lanka’s representative for the WHO. During the proceedings, Ms. Wanniarachchi had also stated that the information provided to her by the WHO is unclear as to what the promised vaccine is. Nevertheless, she stated that it is crucial for the formation of a special committee to be put in charge of this initiative. The proposed committee is to overlook key areas such as funding, recipients for the vaccine, management of resources and general administration
20% of Sri Lanka’s population amounts to approximately 4.5 million people. With the majority of the country’s cases being asymptomatic and implying mild forms of the virus, Sri Lanka possesses a good chance of ending the pandemic with the availability of this vaccine. However, this does not imply that the public can let their guard down. Strict adherence to all preventive measures and social distancing protocols are yet to be observed at all times under the instructions of the Ministry of Health.