COVAX Vaccines here by month end | Daily News

COVAX Vaccines here by month end

18 mn vaccine doses also to be ordered
4,000 centres for vaccination
600,000 to be inoculated per day

The first consignment of COVID vaccines donated under the World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility is to be received by the end of this month, stated Deputy Director-General of Public Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath.

Dr.Herath was speaking at a special media conference held yesterday at the Government Information Department.

“A consignment of free vaccines for 20 per cent of the country’s population is to be received under the COVAX initiative and the first consignment is to be received by the end of this month. We hope that the rest of the vaccine will also be received soon,” he said.

He further said the Government has taken measures to purchase 18 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be sufficient to inoculate nine million persons as two doses are needed per person.

The AstraZeneca vaccine can be kept at normal refrigerator temperatures (Celsius 2 to 8), which will facilitate storage and transport logistics.

“The Government has already planned to utilize 4,000 vaccine centres for this purpose and these centres will administer a total of 300 vaccinations each day, with 2,000 centers in operation per day. So we will be able to administer vaccines for about 600,000 people per a day,” he said. This programme, which will target the general population aged 30-60, will probably start in the first week of March.

Joining the media conference via Zoom technology, Consultant Dr Ananda Wijewickrema stated that the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is a safe vaccine since no adverse reactions or side-effects have been reported so far in Sri Lanka or in other countries where it is currently used. Dr Abeywickrema urged people not to panic over this vaccine and not to be misled by any myths or rumours.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine appears to substantially reduce transmission of the virus, rather than simply preventing symptomatic infections, UK researchers have suggested. The rate of positive PCR tests declined by about half after two doses, according to preliminary results by researchers at the University of Oxford that have yet to be peer reviewed. Their analysis, released as a preprint Tuesday, also supports spacing out doses and estimates good efficacy after just one shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The study did not measure transmission directly -- for example, by tracing contacts who were infected by study volunteers. But the researchers did collect regular nasal swabs from some participants and found that the rate of positive PCR tests fell by half after two doses of the vaccine. After one dose only, the rate of positive tests fell by 67%.

A total of 161,773 individuals mainly from the health sector and the Security Forces/Police have been given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far in Sri Lanka since the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 29, following the donation of 500,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine by India the previous day. According to available statistics a total of 3,838 and 1, 625 individuals have been vaccinated on Feb 6 and 7 respectively. The COVID-19 vaccination programme was started on January 29 and 5, 286 were vaccinated on the first day alone. Accordingly the progress of the immunization programme remains at a percentage of 64.7 by the end of Sunday.