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Sputnik V vaccines: Only 11% have received 2nd dose  

  • Over 159,000 get 1st dose, over 14,500 receive 2nd 
  • Order placed for 6.5 m each of first and second dose  
  • Manufacturer Gamaleya recommends 3-month dosage interval  

BY Aazam Ameen 

Of the number of Sri Lankans who have received the Sputnik V vaccine manufactured by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of Russia, only around 11% have been fully vaccinated with both doses, The Sunday Morning learnt.   

While 159,081 persons have received the first dose of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, only 14,503 persons have received the second dose of the same. 

Data from the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit shows that the administering of the Sputnik V vaccine took place between June and July of this year.  

The only consignment of Sputnik V second doses – 15,000 in total – arrived in the country on 11 June. This was in a consignment that also included 50,000 first doses of the same. The two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine differ from each other, as they use different adenoviruses. 

State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPC) General Manager Dinusha Dasanayake had explained to The Sunday Morning on multiple occasions that the manufacturer of the vaccine had encountered issues in supplying the required vaccine quantities to Sri Lanka on time. 

According to Dasanayake, the SPC had ordered a total of 13 million Sputnik V vaccines, 6.5 million of the first dose and 6.5 million of the second. 

Meanwhile, Gamaleya Institute Director Alexander Leonidovich Gintsburg had stated that it is possible to increase the interval between the two Sputnik V doses. 

“Regarding the Sputnik V vaccine, we believe that it is possible to increase the minimum interval between the first and second vaccine shots from the earlier approved 21 days, up to three months. Extending the interval will not affect the vaccine-induced immune response, and in some cases, will enhance and prolong it,” he had noted. 

Gintsburg explained that while they support the earlier, independently made statements by health regulators such as the National Administration of Drugs, Foods, and Medical Devices (ANMAT) of Argentina, on extending the interval between shots, the institute believes, however, that it is up to each national regulator to decide as to whether to retain the 21-day interval between shots or to extend it to three months. 

Despite several attempts by The Sunday Morning to contact SPC Chairman Dr. Prasanna Gunasena and Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana, these attempts proved futile.