PeMSAA-UK
Peradeniya Medical School Aumni Association - United Kingdom
PeMSAA-UK is deeply concerned about the dire situation with rapidly increasing number of cases of Covid 19 and the ever increasing number of deaths in Sri lanka and the lack of adequate supply of vaccine. We publish below an appeal from Dr Palitha Abeykoon, which explains the urgency of the situation.

PeMSAA-UK appeals to the government of the UK to do whatever possible to help Sri Lanka with their urgent need for vaccines.
I had heard that all of you are trying to get the UK Govt to release some AZ vaccine doses urgently. This matter is very urgent. I hope you will get a positive word quickly. There are about 600,000 who are waiting for the 2nd AZ dose and the time for them is running ou - most have passed the prescribed 12 weeks and for some, even 16 weeks will be up very soon. As you you know, they are getting desperate.

I am also in touch with our US medics - Dr Liyanage in LA, President SLMA US and another group - who are also applying pressure on their congressmen and senators and WH but we have not had a positive response so far.

In the meantime I am also in close touch with our WHO colleagues in Geneva and Delhi to get these urgently from the Covax facility. The Covax is notoriously uncommunicative, perhaps they do not know what to say.

We have also been in touch with the Oxford group - Prof Pollard who had sent some data to say that the 1st dose remains effective even at 6 months and you know that the WHO also issued an advisory to this effect a few days ago. But they also advise to give the second dose at 12 or soonest thereafter preferably.

The AZ delay means that the govt will need to make some decisions this week. Many thanks, please see how fast you can get a word and of course some supplies - even a smaller amount to start off. Time is of the essence.... 

Kind regards.

Palitha

Dr. Palitha Abeykoon ia a Senior Adviser to the Health Ministry and he is among the six Special Envoys on COVID-19 appointed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide strategic advice and high-level political advocacy and engagement in different parts of the world. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, Member of National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and former Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA).
Covid 19 Vaccine for Sri Lanka Appeal

Message from Dr Palitha Abeykoon




To ..............................................MP


Dear

An appeal for assistance with Oxford-Astra Zeneca COVID Vaccine to Sri Lanka

We thank you for taking time to consider this appeal.

We would also like to congratulate the efforts made by the Government and the NHS on its ambitious vaccination programme in reaching the mass vaccination targets and becoming the global leaders. We can all see the benefits of the forward thinking and focused mission.

This is an appeal on behalf of all communities irrespective of race or creed in Sri Lanka. There are only
about one million
people out 
of a population 
of 
22 million
have received the first dose of vaccine, majority being Covishield
/
Oxford-Astra Zeneca and 
about 
600,000 
are stranded without the second dose. It 
is believed that the vaccines cannot 
be secured from India or
any other country until July As the effectiveness of the first dose of vaccine will wane off by the end of June, it is critical that the second dose is administered by then. It is very worrying that even the front line healthcare workers are not fully protected yet. Without further delivery of vaccines Sri Lanka may end up in a catastrophic situation to care for the ill and infirm, which may have disastrous effects in global healthcare.

I am a member of the Peradeniya Medical School Alumni Association in UK (PeMSAA-UK: www.pemsaa.uk) a leading medical school and University in Sri Lanka. I dedicated my services to the British NHS and the people of UK. I would like to kindly seek your assistance with the COVID vaccine supply to our motherland, Sri Lanka.

As a citizen of UK and a member of this association I would be grateful for your assistance for the urgent supply of life-saving 600,000 Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine doses for these vulnerable Sri Lankans.

PeMSAA-UK is also working with other organisations such as of Sri Lankan Doctors and Dentists Association (SLMDA) in UK, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), equivalent to BMA in the UK and the Ceylon College of Physicians (CCP) in Sri Lanka, assisting in the COVID-19 disease management.

This appeal is not to seek any monetary aid but for supplying Vaccines and other equipment to assist in controlling and containing the COVID-19 disease in Sri Lanka.

We would be grateful if British Embassy working with Sri Lankan government, SLMA and CCP can spearhead the supply of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccines and other equipment to the most vulnerable in the society and uphold the transparency and equity in distribution.

We are looking forward to receiving the UK Government’s and your support. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
PeMSAA-UK has sent an appeal to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi. PeMSAA-UK is also appealing all its members to support this appeal by contacting their respective MPs. A draft letter that could be used for this purpose is given below.