SL hits highest single-day vaccinations

  • Record 400k vaccinations on Saturday, over 300k from Sinopharm

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Marking the highest number of Covid-19 vaccines administered in a single day in Sri Lanka, a total of 412,111 Covid-19 vaccines, which includes 342,342 Sinopharm doses, was administered on Saturday (24), according to the Epidemiology Unit.

In addition to the 342,342 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, 39 doses of Sputnik V and 69,830 doses of Moderna vaccine had also been administered to reach this total. 

According to the Epidemiology Unit, as of 8:30 p.m. on 24 July 2021, a total of 8,907,559 Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Sri Lanka, including 1,311,127 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine, 6,663,592 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, 173,584 doses of Sputnik V vaccine, 126,058 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and 633,198 doses of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. In addition, a total of 5,300 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine had been given to Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka for development activities.

The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka tweeted on 18 July that Sri Lanka is the global leader in vaccination speed, in terms of daily doses administered per 100 people.

In its Twitter message, the Embassy had also stated that within the next two to three weeks, another 5.6 million doses of China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine would arrive in the country, in three batches.

The Embassy cited global statistics website “Our World in Data” to back up its claim. However, when The Morning did its own research on the same site, Sri Lanka was listed at No. 2 on the global chart, behind Ecuador, in terms of daily doses administered per 100 people.

A vaccination drive against Covid-19 commenced in hospitals run by the tri-forces on 4 July and has continued since, with many commenting that the speed of vaccination at these centres has been significantly higher than that of health sector-run vaccination centres. The vaccination programme by the military was launched after receiving one million doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccines. 

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) recently alleged that the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses supplied to the vaccination centres operated by the health sector has been significantly reduced by health authorities, as a higher number of doses are being channelled to the new vaccination centres run by the tri-forces.

Responding to the GMOA’s allegations, State Ministry of Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Secretary Dr. S.K. Ratnayake denied that there is a conscious or intentional reduction in the vaccine doses being supplied to the health sector-run vaccination centres. However, he commended the tri-forces for running an efficient vaccination programme, and compared it favourably to those run by the health sector. 

Meanwhile, State Minister of Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana recently said Sri Lanka has received over 12,150,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to date, of which 72% of vaccines has been purchased by the Government.

Accordingly, eight million doses of Sinopharm, 500,000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca, 180,000 of Sputnik V, and 115,830 of Pfizer have been purchased by the Government. Prof. Jayasumana also said that the Government had spent $ 77.3 million (Rs. 15.46 billion) on these purchases, and claimed that the Government had not had an issue in paying for the vaccines.

He also said that another 1.6 million more doses of Sinopharm vaccines are to arrive in the country as a donation from China. Also, Dr. Ratnayake told The Morning yesterday (25) that a stock of about 1 million Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Japan is expected to arrive in the country soon, most likely on 29 July.