Sri Lanka plans to vaccinate 100 percent of the over 30 population of the Western province with the vaccines coming in July, the president’s office said. At a meeting at the presidential secretariat Friday (09) afternoon, the need to restart the economy was discussed in light of dropping income levels and increasing unemployment in the country, a statement said.
“We are trying our best to reboot the economy as soon as possible by bringing in the vaccines we need,” President Rajapaksa said. Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka is scheduled to receive a consignment of two million of the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccine by July 11 and another two million on July 28.
“My plan is to vaccinate 100 percent of the population above 30 years old in the Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts this month,” he said. “We only need another 200,000 vaccines to cover the Colombo district which will be taken from the July 11 consignment,” he added. Another 500,000 and 300,000 doses of the consignment of two million will be sent to the Gampaha Kalutara districts respectively to complete the vaccination of all citizens above 30 years of age in the province.
“With the remaining one million, 100,000 doses each will be sent to Galle, Matara, Hambanthota, Anuradhpaura, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Rathnapura and Badulla districts while 200,000 will be sent to Kurunegala district,” the president said. One million doses of the US manufactured Moderna vaccine is also scheduled to arrive on July 15, while 1.47 million doses of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine is expected by July 19, according to the president.
“We need 500,000 doses of a vaccine to cover Kandy district which will be sourced from the one million doses of Moderna,” the president said. Sri Lanka received only 1,264,000 doses of Covishield in total. Due to a shortage since then, 540,788 are still awaiting their second dose. With 26,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech received on July 05, health authorities inoculated 2,171 people who received Covishield vaccine as the first dose.
However, the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine was suspended Thursday (08) with confirmation that 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca was on the way. After vaccinating the Covishield second dose hopefuls with these doses, 860,000 will be left. “As per our calculation, we have another 426,000 to be vaccinated in Kegalle. We will administer the remaining AstraZeneca doses to them,” President Rajapaksa said.
On July 09, Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva said the remaining doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be given to students going abroad and to a group of fishermen in Mannar who may interact with Indians. As of Friday (09), 1,130 Sri Lankans expecting to go abroad for studies have registered for the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, he said. An unspecified number of fisherfolk in Mannar and other targeted groups in the area who are thought to interact with Indian fishermen will also receive the US manufactured vaccine, Gen Silva told the privately owned Derana network Friday morning.
State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana in an earlier report said Sri Lanka will get another 28,000 doses of Pfizer next week, 60,000 doses in the third week and 90,000 in the fourth week of July. “We have to utilise the remaining Pfizer doses on targeted groups in Mannar and Vavuniya. Consignments we receive in the future can be used to vaccinate 100 percent in those areas,” President Rajapaksa said.
“We will use the two million doses of Sinopharm vaccines we receive on July 28 to vaccinate Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Monaragala districts,” he said. “In July, we must complete vaccination of all citizens above 30 years of age in Colombo, Gamphaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalla, Mannar and Vavuniya districts,” he added.