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Follow Realities on Covid-19 control, not Vaccine Dream

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There is some expectation among the public that COVID-19 vaccines would be available in Sri Lanka very soon, even in a month or so. This is far from the truth.

 

The Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Forum of Sri Lanka states:

There are claims from Pfizer and Moderna that their vaccines are 95% effective. However, these are interim results announced in the public domain before completion of Phase 3 studies. As studies are not complete, results have not been published in scientific journals. These vaccines are not registered under any internationally recognized regulatory bodies or by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Moderna expects their vaccine to be available to the public next spring. Even then it will not be available in Sri Lanka. This is because millions of doses of vaccines of these manufacturers have been already contracted to the USA and EU and other countries. Sri Lanka has no such contracts with the manufacturers of these vaccines. As these vaccines have not completed safety studies, and as no recognized regulatory body has registered them, Sri Lanka is not in a position to make upfront payment and reservations for them.

The only way that Sri Lanka would get the vaccine would be through COVAX – the initiative of the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), WHO and others. COVAX pledges to give all low and middle income countries equitable access to vaccines. The vaccines will be made available to priority groups. These include healthcare and social care workers, elderly, and persons with chronic non-communicable diseases. However, the chances are that WHO/COVAX would be able to provide some vaccine doses to Sri Lanka towards the end of 2021. WHO/COVAX has pledged that they would reserve a supply of vaccines necessary for only about 20% of our total population, and Sri Lanka will have to pay for them. They have also indicated that they do not wish to buy vaccines that exceed a cost of 20 USD per dose for any country.

 

Thus, it is time to face reality.

It is necessary to implement mechanisms to educate the public on getting vulnerable persons to hospital early, for management of complications of COVID-19 to prevent unnecessary deaths.

It is necessary to continue vigorously public health recommendations on wearing face masks, social distancing, hand washing and related mechanisms, which have stood the test of time even from the times of the Spanish Flu of 1918.

 

(The Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Forum of Sri Lanka was established over a decade ago. Its objectives are to educate healthcare workers and the public regarding vaccines and vaccination, and to have a dialogue with the Ministry of Health on vaccine related matters. It consists among others of immunologists, microbiologists, paediatricians, community physicians and family physicians who practice vaccination and/or have an interest in vaccines)



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Opinion

Nelum Kuluna poses danger to aircraft

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The top of Nelum Kuluna (Lotus Tower) stands 350 above sea level in the heart of Colombo City, as the air navigators of old would say, sticking out like a ’sore thumb’. It has to be lit up in accordance with the Aircraft Obstacle Lighting recommendations contained in Annex 14 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Convention originally signed by Ceylon in 1944.

A free-standing tower of that height is required by international law to be lit up not only at night with red lights, but also with high visibility white strobe lights during the day.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be on always during the day. The authorities concerned must realise that the strobe lighting during the day is not for beauty but for air safety, especially these days, when the air quality and visibility are low during the day.

Have those in charge of the tower been briefed properly on the legal requirement and the use of proper lighting? In case of an accident, this certainly will have implications on insurance claims.

I wonder whether the ‘Regulator’, Civil Aviation Authority Sri Lanka would like to comment.

If not rectified, it will be just a matter of time an aircraft will be impaled by the Nelum Kuluna.

I M Nervy (Aviator)

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Opinion

Simple questions to Sirisena and Gotabaya

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If Sirisena had not been informed of the plans to explode bombs on 21st of April 2019, as he has claimed, shouldn’t he have taken immediate action to call for explanation from Nilantha Jayawardena, then head of State Intelligent Service (SIS), who had been notified several times about the impending attack by the Indian intelligence.

Sirisena and Jayawardena should be prosecuted for allowing a mass murder to take place. Further Sirisena should be made to explain his famous uttering, “I will reveal everything, if somebody tries to implicate me”.

Why did Gotabaya, who announced his candidature for presidency almost immediately after the Easter Sunday attack and promised to punish those who were involved in it, pay no attention to Nilantha Jayawardena’s failure in taking necessary action with regard to information he received, instead he was given a promotion?

President Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting with USAID Administrator Samantha Power on September 11, 2022 had said that Scotland Yard had been requested to review the reports and reach a final conclusion on claims that there was a hidden hand behind the bombings.

We do not need Scotland Yard, just get an honest set of Sri Lankan police officers to question Nilantha, Sirisena and Gotabaya to find the “hidden hand behind the bombings”

B Perera

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Opinion

Open letter to Sirisena

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Y you were in Singapore when the Easter Sunday attacks took place. You claimed that you had not been informed of the intelligence received by your intelligence officers. However, the Supreme Court has ordered you to pay Rs 100M as compensation to the victims of the terror attacks. The reasons for the decision are stated in the judgement.

Acting on a claim that there was a conspiracy to assassinate you and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya you caused the interdiction and arrest of DIG Nalaka Silva, who was held in custody without bail for a long time.

In his testimony to the Presidential Commission  of Inquiry, Silva said that he had been interdicted while plans were in place to arrest Zaharan.

Due to the arrest of DIG Silva, Zaharan escaped arrest. Silva was never charged. Zaharan continued with his plans and the rest is history.

After the SC order you have been claiming that you have no money to pay the Rs 100M as compensation. You are asking for public help to pay compensation to Easter carnage victims. You even accepted some money collected by a person called Sudaththa Tilakasiri, who begged from people.

You have said publicly that you submitted your asset declarations. I suggest that you sell all your assets declared in the declarations before asking for funds from the public.

Hemal Perera

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