Jabs Targeted for 63% of population | Daily News

Jabs Targeted for 63% of population

Vaccination drive on par with developed countries
25,000 PCR tests done daily at a cost of Rs. 44 mn per day
13,800 beds reserved for COVID patients

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament yesterday that the Government is hopeful of vaccinating 63% of the total population of the country by year end.

Joining the debate on the current COVID pandemic situation, the Health Minister said the vaccination drive was underway currently and that the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is being administered to all health and frontline workers.

She said the Government had ordered 13 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, of which 15,000 doses were received in Sri Lanka yesterday. She added that the rest would be received in batches.

The Minister also stated that agreements have been reached with vaccine manufacturers for the supply of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines which are expected to reach the country during this year.

Although the Government had set a target of vaccinating 60% of the population, it has been able to go beyond that, she said, adding that the Government has promised to provide the required number of additional vaccines as soon as the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine is approved by the WHO. “The vaccination drive in Sri Lanka is on par with developed countries.”

Minister Wanniarachchi said the Government was taking all possible steps to control the COVID pandemic while protecting the lives of the people. Measures were being taken to maintain the living standards of the low-income people and keep the country’s economy stable.

With this aim, the Government had provided an allowance of Rs. 5,000 to the low income families to sustain them during the pandemic. “It is ironic that even Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa who talks so much about the low income families, had forgotten about them when raising issues regarding the COVID pandemic.”

Commenting on the steps taken by the Government to control the third wave of COVID-19 in the country, the Minister said that 13,800 hospital beds have been reserved for COVID patients, noting that within the next two weeks a further 10,000 beds would be added.

Minister Wanniarachchi noted that the current Oxygen production in the country is around 23 tonnes, but there is a possibility to increase it to around 80 tonnes. She said the issue in India was that there is a shortage of Oxygen cylinders.

However, the Minister noted that in Sri Lanka there were around 24,000 cylinders at present in addition to 4,000 jumbo cylinders. She said the oxygen suppliers had also ordered an additional 7,000 jumbo cylinders.

Wanniarachchi said that currently around 25,000 PCR tests are done daily at a cost of Rs. 44 million per day.

She told the House that currently, almost 154 million persons have been infected with the Covid-19 virus globally and over 3.2 million have died as a result of the infection.