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Vaccination drive enters public phase, vulnerable people of all ages eligible

  • MPs prioritised due to interactions with public

 

The Government began vaccinating members of the public from all age groups who are vulnerable to the rapid contraction of Covid-19 in the Western Province yesterday (15), utilising the remaining 250,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Ministry of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and Covid Disease Control Secretary Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva said that the vaccination will be administered to groups such as cleaners, garbage collectors, the media, and parliamentarians.

“There are certain groups among which the virus spreads very drastically. The cleaners, garbage collectors, and those in certain pockets of the country like Kolonnawa and Peliyagoda, which are areas with overcrowded dwellings, were identified as vulnerable communities earlier as well. We have started vaccinating them from yesterday.”

It was reported that vaccination for MPs is to begin today (16) at the Army Hospital. The Morning learnt from parliamentary sources that MPs will be able to receive their jabs till 19 February.

When inquired about the reason for the prioritisation of MPs, Dr. de Silva said that they are given priority because of their interactions with the public and that journalists and members of the media will also receive the same priority due to the same reason. He said that the administration of vaccinations to the media will also begin soon.

The remaining 250,000 vaccines that were originally planned to be given to the first priority group of health workers and frontline security forces personnel as their second dose will be utilised to vaccinate these vulnerable groups.

“We learnt that the vaccination will be effective if the second dose is administered with a 12-week gap according to the latest developments. We are to receive another set of vaccines next month,” said Dr. de Silva.

Sri Lanka began vaccinating healthcare workers and frontline security forces personnel on 29 January after Sri Lanka received a stock of 500,000 AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines from the Government of India. Sri Lanka still awaits vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) COVAX facility for 20% of its population.