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Kurunegala, Matara, Galle vaccination planned

By Dinitha Rathnayake

 

Government authorities are planning to expand the vaccination drive to all areas in Sri Lanka that are reporting a rapid rise in Covid-19-positive cases, including areas such as Kurunegala, Matara, and Galle where there has been a drastic increase.

This was noted by Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana during the weekly cabinet media briefing held yesterday (25).

“We hope to get more vaccines in June and allocate them to Kurunegala, Matara, and Galle where Covid-19-positive cases have shown a sharp increase recently.”

The national vaccination drive has up to now been mostly limited to high-risk areas in the populous Western Province, but the first public vaccination drive outside of the Western Province is set to begin this week in Kandy, with the administration of the batch of the Sputnik-V vaccine that was scheduled to arrive in the country yesterday (25).

Meanwhile, Dr. Pathirana noted that the Serum institute of India, owing to the shortage of vaccines in India and a factory at one of its manufacturing plants catching fire, is unlikely to deliver the 600,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine that have been ordered.

Only 300,000 people have received the second Covishield dose with the stocks that were in the possession of the Government.

“We are still awaiting the 600,000 doses of the vaccine for the second dose. We had vaccinated a population of nearly one million. We have managed to give the second dosage only for 300,000. There is, however, no use in expecting the vaccine from them (the Serum Institute) by waiting for a long period of time if, in the interim period, we get it from another source.”

The Government has already allocated the necessary funds required to procure 14 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine, according to Dr. Pathirana.

“With the hope of vaccinating 60-70% of the population by the end of this year, the Government has allocated the required funds to purchase 14 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China and one million doses of the Covishield jab. Therefore, we expect to expedite the process of importing the vaccines based on the production capacity of the manufacturers.”

According to the Minister, another 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine were expected to arrive in the country yesterday.

“Moreover, the manufacturing companies have agreed to provide another three million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and a decision on the final date of delivery will be confirmed. We are expecting an announcement on the matter in the coming days,” he added.

The price of one Sinopharm vaccine is $ 15.