ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka started its COVID-19 vaccination today (29), with frontline workers at Colombo Army Hospital and the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) receiving their first Covieshield jab, the national pandemic task force said.
Sri Lana received 500,000 vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India yesterday, as a donation from the Indian government under its ‘neighbours first’ policy.
The vials were transported to the Ministry of Health’s central vaccine storage by the military before distributing it to eight hospitals in the Western Province to begin vaccination today.
The first jabs were administered at the IDH and at the Army Hospital where three army officers working at quarantine facilities were inoculated. IDH hospital director Dr Ananda Wijewickrama were among the staff that received the jab.
Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay who was present at the vaccination inauguration at the IDH said Sri Lanka can now reopen for the world.
“It is a pandemic. No matter how much advanced technology or advanced science a country has, at this moment the best way to fight this is with international cooperation,” he said.
Dr Wijewickrama said the National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) was extremely satisfied with the results of vaccine before approving it for use in Sri Lanka.
“We were able to recommend it to use in Sri Lanka without any fear,” he said.
Vaccination of staff at the Colombo National Hospital, the Lady Ridgeway Children’s’ Hospital, the Mulleriyawa Hospital, the Homagama Hospital, the Colombo South Hospital and the Colombo North Hospital also began today.
Issuing a statement, the national COVID19 task force said the vaccination of frontline military personnel will be carried out at 15 military hospitals island-wide starting tomorrow.
“Sri Lanka Army personnel, now playing a prominent role in the practice of quarantining vulnerable categories and healing COVID-19 affected while actively contributing to arrest its transmission would accordingly receive the COVID-19 jab through 15 island-wide military mospitals” the statement said.
“After the first dose was inoculated to Colonel Saveen Semage, Deputy Director, Directorate of Army Preventive Medicine and Mental Health Services, two more frontline Army personnel (Officer and Other Rank) representing the line of command in the organisation received their doses at the Colombo Army Hospital,” it added. (Colombo/Jan29/2021)