News

No final decision on future vaccine procurement

  • Current focus on Pfizer imports for boosters, child vaccination

BY Pamodi Waravita 

The Health Ministry said yesterday (17) that a concrete decision is yet to be taken on how the future vaccination procurement process will occur, although the current primary focus is only on the import of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

“We have not yet taken a concrete decision on how the future mechanism will work regarding the vaccination procurement process. There is no concrete decision on whether we will only import the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the future, as this decision will have to be taken based on the availability of vaccines and the requirements in the future,” Health Ministry Communications Director Dr. Hemantha Herath told The Morning yesterday.

He said that currently there is a focus on procuring the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as it is being provided as a booster shot due to the waning of the efficacy provided by the Sinopharm vaccine.

“This could also change in the future,” he noted.

State Minister Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana had told the media yesterday that Sri Lanka is only going to import the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the future, as the primary focus is on booster shots and child vaccination at the moment.

“We have enough vaccines from the other brands for the administration of the first and second doses. As we now need to focus on booster shots and child vaccination, we will only be importing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine now,” noted Prof. Jayasumana.

Sri Lanka started administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a booster (third) dose for all those over the age of 60 years yesterday. Accordingly, those over the age of 60 years, who have completed three months since the receipt of the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and are living in the Western and Southern Provinces and the Anuradhapura and Ampara Districts are eligible for the booster shot. Meanwhile, the administration of the booster shot for frontline workers began in the first week of November. The Epidemiology Unit stated that as of 16 November, 128,811 third doses have been administered.

According to the Presidential Secretariat’s Vaccination Dashboard, 84% of the eligible population (over the age of 16 years) has been fully vaccinated with two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.