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Half a million Covishield doses arrive in Sri Lanka; rollout to continue: SPC

ECONOMYNEXT – The first batch of the nine million doses of the Covishield vaccine purchased from India’s Serum Institute arrived in Sri Lanka this afternoon, a State Pharmaceutical Corporation official said.

Half a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum under the brand Covishield that arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport at 1.45pm today was to be sent to the health ministry’s central storage facility for distribution, SPC General Manager Dinusha Dissanayake told EconomyNext.

Health ministry sources said out of the half a million that arrived today, 300,000 will be used to vaccinate citizens in the high risk areas in the Western Province.

“There are over 100,000 citizens above 60 years of age in the Colombo Municipal Council area, another 100,000 in the Gampaha district and 100,000 more in high risk Grama Niladhari areas in the western province,” the source said.

“The vaccines will be delivered to storage facilities located in those areas from the MOH central storage, according to their individual capacities,” they added.

Following discussions held yeserday, several high risk areas have been identified where everyone above 30 will receive the jab. In other areas, the official said, those above 60 will get it.  The remaining 200,000 will be distributed in other vaccination centres that operate under Medical Officers of Health as requested.

The source said vaccines will be distributed by tomorrow to continue the vaccination process without any disruptions.

Meanwhile SPC General Manager Dissanayake said the batches of 500,000 will follow in the future with the second batch scheduled to arrive in the second week of March. The third batch to follow in the first week of April, he said.

These consignments will be used to give the second jab for the frontline workers in the health sector and the military who received their first dose in early February.

According to the Ministry of Health, 366,907 Sri Lankans – frontline workers and members of the general public – had received their first dose by February 24 from the consignment received as a donation from India. (Colombo/Feb 25/2021)





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