Major vaccine inflow this week
500,000 Covishield doses tomorrow
COVAX to send 264,000 doses ‘this week’
By Hiranyada Dewasiri and Mihi Perera
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal by Acting Minister of Health Prof. Channa Jayasumana to purchase 10 million Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines for $ 52.5 million from the Serum Institute of India, while a consignment of 500,000 Covishield doses from the Serum Institute will be arriving tomorrow (25).
Meanwhile, The Morning learnt that the Ministry of Health is expecting a batch of 264,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine this week.
Speaking to The Morning yesterday (23), Ministry of Health Epidemiology Unit Consultant Epidemiologist Dr. Deepa Gamage said that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) COVAX Facility has prioritised Sri Lanka over other countries to supply vaccines through the COVAX Facility.
“The GAVI COVAX Facility has prioritised Sri Lanka and brought it to the top of the list of countries they are providing vaccines to. We are expecting 264,000 Covishield doses within the week.”
The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday (22) also approved a proposal by the acting Health Minister to enter into an agreement between the Astra-Zeneca Institute in the UK and the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) to purchase 3.5 million Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccines manufactured in the UK under the said company and to sign the Standardised Indemnification Agreement submitted by the GAVI COVAX mechanism in order to expedite the consignment of COVAX Facility vaccinations.
The Government has announced plans to vaccinate 14 million people in total under the Covid-19 national vaccination drive. Speaking to The Morning yesterday (23), State Ministry of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and Covid Disease Control Secretary Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva said that a total of 28 million doses will be acquired under this plan.
When inquired about the funds allocated for the vaccine purchasing, Health Services Deputy Director General Dr. Hemantha Herath said that the Ministry of Finance has made the necessary adjustments to utilise funds that have been offered to the country by various donors and funding agencies for other projects.
“The Ministry of Finance has made adjustments to funding we have received from various donors and funding agencies and these funds are being utilised for vaccine procurement. The Covid-19 fund is being saved for emergency use.”
It was reported yesterday that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had received the Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, addressing the media yesterday, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said that it is the opinion of medical experts in Sri Lanka and around the world that administering the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should be done in three months. He said that the remaining number of vaccines for the second vaccination will be delivered to Sri Lanka soon, and it will be confirmed whether it will be done within a month or two.