ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans to purchase seven million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next year, and discussions are under way with multiple manufacturers to acquire more vaccines, the Minister of Health told parliament today.
Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said officials are engaged in discussions with Pfizer Inc through the US Embassy in Sri Lanka with a view to signing purchase agreements.
” If the deal goes through, the vaccines will arrive next year,” she said.
“We are also talking to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson through the embassy and, if the companies agree, we will sign agreements with them as well,” she added.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is one of the two pioneering jabs the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved for emergency use, the other being the Oxford-AstaZeneca vaccine that is currently being used in Sri Lanka. The country uses the Covishield branded version of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Instate of India.
Minister Wanniarachchi said 924,687 people have been vaccinated from January 29 to April 06 and another 356,730 doses are in storage to be administered as the second dose from April 23 to June 06.
“We need 568,000 more doses of Covishield and we hope to receive another consignment of 500,000 from Serum after we restart the rollout on April 23,” she said. (Colombo/Apr08/2021)