ECONOMYNEXT – Over a million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that was supposed to be delivered to Sri Lanka by July 19 has yet to arrive, according to officials.
The State Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals said the Japanese government had promised to deliver the consignment within July, but no specific date or a reason for the delay has been communicated to the Sri Lankan authorities yet.
The first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (under the brand Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India) was administrated to 925,242 Sri Lankans, while only 385,885 have received the second dose so far. AstraZeneca rollout in Sri Lanka has come to a halt due to a shortage, with some 600,000 people still awaiting their second jab.
Once approval was obtained for a mix-and-match approach, Sri Lanka’s health authorities administered Pfizer-BioNTech as the second dose for 2,171 people who had received one dose of Covishield. This too was suspended upon confirmation that Japan would donate 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka received two more million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine Thursday (22) morning that will be administered across 12 districts in the island, the State Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals said.
Sri Lanka has so far acquired 9.1 million doses of Sinopharm in total, with another 4.9 million scheduled to arrive in the coming months. 2021 will, thus, see 14 million doses of the Chinese vaccine administered to Sri Lankans, the state ministry said.
The latest batch to arrive will be distributed as follows, according to the ministry:
- Kurunegala district – 400,000 doses
- Galle – 275,000
- Matara, Badulla, Ratnapura – 200,000 each
- Hambantota – 125,000
- Puttalam, Polonnaruwa, Nuwara Eliya, Monaragala, Ampara and Batticaloa – 100,000 each