Over-60s to get vaccine priority

By Pamodi Waravita


The National Operation Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19 (NOCPCO) Task Force announced over the weekend that members of the public over the age of 60 would be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination in the future.

“Following the Covid-19 Task Force meeting, we have decided to vaccinate those over 60 years of age with the remaining and incoming batches of vaccines. They will be followed by those living in elders’ homes, pregnant mothers, government officers, and factory workers in at-risk Grama Niladhari divisions,” said Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Asela Gunawardena at a press conference held on Saturday (5).

Meanwhile, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni has stated that approximately one-third of the population within Colombo (190,000 out of 600,000 people) have been administered with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week, the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) pointed out that the Covid-19 vaccination strategy as implemented at present is flawed and urgently needs a composite review. The letter requested that the President prioritise adults older than 60 years of age, followed by people with comorbidities between 30-60 years, instead of vaccinating people with the highest mobility in so-called hotspots. However, it appears that only the first of these recommendations has been adopted by the Government. 

According to the Department of Epidemiology report “Progress of Covid-19 Immunisation as of 8.30 pm” on Saturday, 1,943,708 people have been administered the first jab of a Covid-19 vaccine. Only 353,156 people have been administered the second jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Government is yet to procure 572,086 doses needed to administer the remaining second jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine, amidst allegations that the Government did not make sufficient effort to reserve the stocks needed for the second dose when the first dose was administered.

Yesterday (6), 1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Sri Lanka from China.