Inoculation of public begins | Daily News

Inoculation of public begins

12-week gap proposed between first and second doses
COVAX Vaccines on the way
Jabs for all above 30

The second dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which is currently being used in Sri Lanka could be postponed for 10 to 12 weeks from the first dose as the transmission capacity of the pandemic has now been reduced, State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle told the Daily News yesterday. Earlier, the gap between the two doses was deemed to be four weeks.

According to her, the National Advisory Committee on immunization which has the authority to decide on the vaccination periods would make the final decision in that regard tomorrow (17). Several other countries have already adopted this approach successfully.

If this decision is approved, there is a possibility of vaccinating a total of 500,000 individuals with the entire bulk of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine received from India last month, she said.

As per a press release issued by the Department of Government Information, a total of 189,349 individuals, mostly health staff and Armed Forces/Police members had been vaccinated by the end of Sunday (14). Accordingly, another 300,000 individuals could be vaccinated in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Government commenced vaccinating the public with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday, starting with essential workers. As the first batch, the refuse collectors of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) were vaccinated yesterday.

Fernandopulle also said the public in high-risk areas, especially in the relevant Grama Seva areas in Colombo and Gampaha districts will be given priority.

 The employees of the private healthcare sector, airports, ports, prisons and immigration/emigration points will also be given priority for vaccination, the State Minister said.

Also, Members of Parliament and the whole staff of the Sri Lanka Parliament will be vaccinated within three days from today (16) at the Sri Lanka Army Hospital in Colombo, she said. Prison Officers will also be given the vaccine from today onwards, the State Minister said. The State Minister also said Sri Lanka is hopeful of receiving the first bulk of the Covid-19 vaccine ordered from the World Health Organisation (WHO) under the COVAX facility within the next two-weeks. The vaccines currently on the market have not been recommended for young children, schoolchildren and pregnant women.

“Sri Lanka has ordered 18 million doses of the vaccine and 50 per cent of the entire population could be vaccinated with it,” she added. “All those who are above age 30 will be vaccinated.”

“Currently there is a high competition for purchasing the vaccine among various countries. Due to that reason, it is not certain whether Sri Lanka will be able to obtain the entire order at once,” she added.

State Minister Fernandopulle said Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi who contracted the virus recently is receiving treatment at the IDH Hospital and is recovering gradually.