Pfizer jabs for students aged 15-19 | Daily News
President instructs health officials

Pfizer jabs for students aged 15-19

* Vaccine to be given in hospitals
* Vaccination process to be expedited
* Lockdown extended till Oct 1

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday instructed health authorities to complete the vaccination of all children between the ages of 15 and 19 expeditiously and to administer the vaccine only in hospitals. President Rajapaksa also instructed that all children be given only the Pfizer vaccine as recommended by the Specialists Committee.

The President made these directives whilst addressing the online Covid committee meeting, where a decision was taken to extend the lockdown till October 1.

He explained the importance of properly educating the parents with regard to vaccination of their children. The President inquired about the vaccination programme for children and Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena pointed out that the Committee of Health Experts has recommended that vaccine priority be given to children between the ages of 12-19 years who are suffering from chronic diseases.

The Director General of Health Services stated that they have planned to conduct the vaccination only at the relevant clinics with the permission of the parents, subject to the supervision of a clinical specialist.

The President then inquired about the vaccination of healthy children in the age group of 12-15 years from the Medical Specialists Committee. The Committee noted that the rest of the world has not yet moved towards this, and that the vaccines are currently recommended for everyone between the ages of 15 and 19.

Specialist Dr. Prasanna Gunasena and Prof. Neelika Malavige pointed out that it was observed that some youths expect to obtain only a selected vaccine, and no specific vaccine has yet been introduced, and all vaccines are of high quality, and therefore everyone should get the vaccines without waiting for a specific one.

The importance of referring patients with complications developed post-Covid treatment for Ayurvedic treatment and the establishment of Post-Covid Treatment Centres in rural Ayurvedic Hospitals was also discussed.

Emphasizing the need to maintain the functioning of essential public services such as the Department of Motor Traffic and the Land Registry, the President said that the Heads of the respective institutions should take necessary decisions in this regard.

Despite the prevalent challenging situation, the Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa said the economy was able to maintain a high level of growth in the first and second quarters of this year and the Minister expressed gratitude to all parties, including Health and Defence sectors, for their commitment in this regard.

The President instructed to maintain the essential services as before without disrupting the daily life and economic activities of the people and further instructed to keep all the economic centres open.

The discussion also focused on the opening of rural schools with less than 200 students. In this context, the President emphasized the need for the Provincial Directors of Health Services to work in close coordination with the Ministry of Education. The importance of conducting awareness programmes for parents and children on health recommendations was also highlighted during the meeting.

President Rajapaksa explained to the Public Health Inspector’s Association (PHIA) President Upul Rohana, that it is the main responsibility of the Public Health Inspectors to encourage the public to be vaccinated.

The President also said that the Public Health Inspectors are furthermore vested with the responsibility of giving necessary guidance to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and the Self-employed individuals to pursue their livelihoods without hindrance.

The President also instructed the IGP to strictly enforce the law against those who do not comply with the health recommendations and violate the quarantine curfew. It was revealed at the meeting that the Government has made plans to lift the Quarantine Curfew on October 1, after taking into account the current situation.

Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Keheliya Rambukwella, Bandula Gunawardana, Dullas Alahapperuma, Johnston Fernando, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Namal Rajapaksa, State Ministers Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Sisira Jayakody, Prof. Channa Jayasumana, MP Madhura Withanage, Health Secretary Major General (Retd.) Specialist Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Director General of Health Services. Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army General Shavendra Silva, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Inspector General of Police C. D. Wickramaratne, members of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Control, Provincial and Regional Directors of Health Services and the President of the Public Health Inspector’s Association were also present at the virtual meeting. 

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