Over 85% of Sri Lanka’s estate community receive first jab, 63% fully vaccinated

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The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) and the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) announced major progress in their collective efforts to safeguard all residents of Sri Lanka’s estate community, with over 85% of the community across 7 regions having received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 63% being fully as at 10th September 2021.

Working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Provincial Health Authorities & PHDT, Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) have been able to fast track the rate of vaccinations for its estate workers and their families.

“With the number of COVID cases on the rise once again, ensuring the safety of our estate workers and their families is a priority for all RPCs. Vaccinations are being carried out systematically while continuous investments are being made to strengthen safety protocols. Our mission is to ensure that all our workers and the community at large, are fully vaccinated by end September 2021.” PA media spokesperson Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.

“We are deeply grateful to the authorities for their vital assistance in this endeavor and we remain totally committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our employees.”

As of 10th of September, over 87% of those between the ages of 30-59 received their 1st doses, while over 58% received their 2nd doses thus far. Priority has also been given to those above 60 years, with over 92% having received their first jab and over 79% having received their 2nd jab in the estate sector.

The PA noted that the inoculation drive commenced from the Nuwara-Eliya district (Covering Hatton & Nuwara Eliya) since the largest community of estate workers reside in this area. Over 85% of 30-60 year olds having already received their first dose while over 54% received their 2nd dose. Meanwhile, over 89% of individuals from the other plantation districts belonging to the same age category received their 1st dose while 62% received their 2nd dose.

“The vaccination distribution is held under three phases with priority being given to frontline workers, secondly the factory workers inclusive of community leaders & thirdly, the staff and the wider community. We are pleased to note that we have reached the final half of the third phase. The rate at which vaccinations were conducted could not have been achieved without the assistance of relevant stakeholders.

“Prior to the vaccines being distributed, estate managers worked closely with MoH officials and PHIs in order to raise awareness about the vaccine, and alleviate all doubts. This drastically reduced any hesitancy which the community had towards vaccines, which in turn was instrumental to the successful rollout of vaccines among the estate community,” PHDT Director-General Lal Perera said.

“While we continue to keep up the momentum of the vaccine drive, COVID 19 awareness programmes and basic healthcare/welfare services continue to operate unhindered. Proactive measures like a regional help desks have been set up for the estate community throughout the pandemic. A COVID 19 steering committees with relevant stakeholders along with RPC coordinators have also been appointed to ensure guidelines meted out by the MOH are being adhered to across all factories.” Dr. Rajadurai concluded.

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