ECONOMYNEXT – Half a million doses of the China-manufactured Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Sri Lanka May 26 morning, the second consignment to be donated to Sri Lanka by the Chinese government.
The first batch of 600,000 doses arrived on May 07 and have been administered to 482,508 so far, official data shows.
Thanking the Chinese government and the Embassy of China in Colombo, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a tweet on May 26 that he will ensure a strong vaccination drive for all.
I will ensure a strong vaccination drive for all & in addition to the 600K doses of #Sinopharm vaccines donated previously, another 500,000 doses arrived to #BIA this morning.
Thank you! Government of #China & @ChinaEmbSL for the assistance in our drive against the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/t5MCEQ70an
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) May 26, 2021
Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa who, along with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, formally accepted the donation at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo said China has always been a good friend to Sri Lanka and is setting a global example by supplying over 300 million doses worldwide.
Sri Lanka expects to acquire a further three million doses of Sinophram in June, according to co-cabinet spokesman Minister Ramesh Pathirana.
These will be part of 14 million doses of Sinopharm that Sri Lanka expects to acquire this year at USD 15 per dose. Another 13 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V and five million of Pfizer-BionTech are also expected to arrive by the end of the year, according to Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva who heads the country’s COVID-19 task force.
In addition to these, funds have been set aside to purchase one million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, co-cabinet spokesman Minister Ramesh Pathirana said, some 600,000 of which will be administered to those anxiously awaiting their second jab.
It is unclear at present when the AstraZeneca doses will be secured, if at all. The Daily Mirror reported on May 25 that the government, in desperation, is ready to acquire the AstraZeneca vaccine at any price.
Sri Lanka expects to vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of the population by the end of the year, Minister Pathirana said on May 25.
Vaccine imports will be fast-tracked as soon as the manufacturers make them available, he added. (Colombo/May26/2021)