COLOMBO, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) on Saturday approved the China-produced Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the island country, according to Sri Lankan State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana.

This is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the country after the AstraZeneca and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines.

Earlier this month, General Manager of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) Dinusha Dassanayake said the SPC had also made an application to the NMRA to clear China's Sinovac vaccine for emergency use.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of a mass vaccination program as it began inoculating all those above 30 years old in the urban Western Province from mid-February, after vaccinating frontline workers and health workers with the AstraZeneca doses.

Sri Lanka received AstraZeneca doses from India in January and February. It also received 264,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility which is being administered to those above the age of 60 years.