First Sputnik V stock delayed by four days

  • Pfizer-SPC agreement to be signed today

  • 6.5 m order in the pipeline

  • Price to be revealed post signing


The delivery of a pilot stock of 15,000 doses of the Sputnik V anti-Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia, that was scheduled to arrive today (29) has been struck by a delay of four days.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (28), State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) General Manager Dinusha Dassanayake said the pilot stock of the vaccine would arrive by 3 May.

“There has been a small delay and the pilot stock of 15,000 doses of Sputnik V would be received by Sri Lanka on 3 May.”

The SPC is expected to send feedback on the vaccine, such as on the availability of cold chains and storage facilities, after which 200,000 doses of the vaccine to administer to 100,000 of the population would be delivered to Sri Lanka, Dassanayake said.

The Morning reported on 26 April that the pilot stock is set to arrive today.

Earlier this week, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said that 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be available by the end of April, while 400,000 doses will be made available in May, 800,000 doses in June, and 1,200,000 doses in July. Cabinet approval has already been granted to import 13 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine at a price of $ 9.95 per dose.

The Sputnik V vaccine is administered through the injection of two different adenovirus vectors (rAd26 and rAd5), delivered separately in a first and second dose, with a gap of 21 days between the two doses. Late-stage trial results published in The Lancet Journal show that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 91.6% against Covid-19.

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) granted emergency use registration for the Sputnik V vaccine on 4 March.

Meanwhile, an agreement to secure doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech anti-Covid-19 vaccine for Sri Lanka is set to be signed today with Pfizer Inc. and SPC.

Dassanayake said yesterday that SPC is currently carrying out the final negotiations for a request made to supply Sri Lanka with 6.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“We have requested 6.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and after signing the agreement, we would know as to how many vaccines they could provide us, the price, and the delivery schedule.”

The Morning learnt from sources at the Ministry of Health that the NMRA has conducted discussions with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s manufacturer, but that it is yet to receive a request for registration through the SPC.

The agreed price for the purchase of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is to be decided by a Cabinet-appointed price negotiation committee, would be revealed after the signing of the agreement, Dassanayake said.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a product of the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German biotechnology company BioNTech, was the first anti-Covid-19 vaccine to receive Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2020.

Both the Sputnik V and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are reported to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 UK variant (B.1.1.7) that is currently reported to be spreading in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the administration of the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine to frontline healthcare workers and members of the armed forces began yesterday in Colombo.

Accordingly, the Colombo Army Hospital began administering the second dose last morning and 15 islandwide military hospitals will facilitate this inoculation drive while frontline healthcare workers received their second dose in two locations in Colombo. The second dose was scheduled to be administered to 429 healthcare workers yesterday.

More than 300,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine have been reserved to administer the second dose and frontline workers would receive the priority in this drive. The Ministry of Health has taken measures to distribute the second dose covering the entire island, the Ministry said.