ECONOMYNEXT – Over half a million Sri Lankans still awaiting their second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine may cautiously look forward to 728,460 doses expected to arrive in the island Saturday (31).
Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi told reporters Wednesday (28) afternoon that half of a previously promised 1.45 million doses of AstraZeneca from Japan will arrive on Saturday through the COVAX facility and that people who have received their first dose of the vaccine will be prioritised in the rollout.
The full consignment was originally expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on July 19 but kept getting pushed back.
Sri Lanka acquired 1.264 million doses of the vaccine this year as purchases or donations from India, the manufacturer and COVAX. The first dose was administered to 925,242 citizens. With the pandemic situation in India, the supply of the vaccine was suspended and health authorities administrated the second dose only to 385,885 people due to the lack of jabs.
A total of 539,357 are still waiting for the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Meanwhile, the State Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals said another four million of the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccines also expected in the first week of August.
According to the health ministry’s epidemiology unit, 72.3 percent of the over-30 population have received the first dose of one of the five vaccines being rolled out in Sri Lanka. So far, 17 percent have received both doses. (Colombo/Jul28/2021)