ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is ramping up its Coronavirus vaccination drive and is expecting three million Sinopharm doses which was newly approved by the World Health Organization authorities said as inter-provincial travel was curbed to battle a surge in Covid-19.
Sri Lanka has already started a vaccination drive in the hard-hit and densely populated Western province using Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.
“Negotiations held with the Chinese authorities to obtain three million doses of Sinopharm vaccine have been successful and the government has made plans to commence the vaccination programmes in other provinces too as soon as the vaccines are received,” the President’s office said.
Sri Lanka already has a stock of close to 600,000 Sinopharm doses which were given free by China ahead of World Health Organization approval.
Sri Lanka was initially planning to vaccinate up to 63 percent of the country’s 21 million population 13 million Sputnik, 5 million Pfizer while a vaccines enough for a third of the population was expected from WHO’s Covax initiative funded by donor governments and private firms.
The bulk of the Sputnik and Pfizer vaccines are back-loaded towards the end of the year according to delivery schedules disclosed by state-run Ceylon Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
“The President is confident that Sri Lanka will be able to successfully manage the current situation through vaccination, similar to the successful results achieved in the United States, the United Kingdom and a number of European countries through vaccination,” a statement from his office said.
Russia had delivered 15,000 Sputnik doses. Another 85,000 doses are expected soon, the government said.
Sri Lanka has already vaccinated 925,000 frontline staff and residents of the Western province with Astra Zeneca jabs from India and is struggling to get about 600,000 more for a second dose.
On May 10, Sri Lanka confirmed 2,624 new Coronavirus cases and a three month old baby died as daily reported deaths climbed to a new high of 26.
Sri Lanka is building new hospital facilities and is planning to release home management guidelines for Covid-19 confirmed patients who do not show intense symptoms.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has approved curbing inter-district travel until May 30, while gathering have also been banned. (Colombo/May11/2021)