Sri Lanka vaccinates over 5,200 frontline workers on first day

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka vaccinated 5,286 frontline workers today, the first day of the country’s immunisation drive against COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine donated by India was administered at 10 locations in the Western Province.

The breakdown of distribution, as per the MoH Epidemiology Unit is as follows:

  Immunisation centre Number of recipients
1 National Hospital of Sri Lanka 1,886
2 Colombo North Teaching Hospital 803
3 Colombo South Teaching Hospital 781
4 Army Hospital 600
5 Army Camp, Panagoda 400
6 Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children 382
7 Base Hospital, Homagama 190
8 Base Hospittal, Mulleriyawa 108
9 Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) 80
10 Navy Camp, Welisara 56
  Total 5,286

Health officials plan to complete administering the first dose of the Covishield vaccine within the next four days, according to Chief Epidemiologist Dr Sudath Samaraweera.

“The second dose will be given in one month’s time,” he told reporters today.

Samaraweera said the vaccine will not be given to people under 18 year of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women as it has not been tested for those groups. Patients who already have the virus in their body at present will not receive the jab either, but will be vaccinated within two weeks of their recovery, he added.

Samaraweera said no complaints of side effects were reported from the vaccine today. However the health sector is prepared for any complications that may arise in the future, he said.

“This is a tested vaccine, so we hope no side effects will be reported.”

Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath predicts a fall in the death COVID-19 death rate in Sri Lanka. Patients with severe conditions, too, will benefit, he said, as it will help the body create antidotes against the virus, epecially in the respiratory system.

“With this we will be able to save patients who are severely affected by this virus and we will be able to bring patients to a stable condition,” Herath told reporters.

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Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Army vaccinated 1,000 frontline army personnel today and expects to completely vaccinate 31,000 army personnel in the next four days, the national task force for the prevention of Covid 19 (NOCPOC) said in a statement this evening.

NOCPOC said some 7,500 more army personnel deployed at quarantine facilities, intermediate treatment centers, hospitals and airports will be vaccinated in six Army Hospitals throughout the island. Mobile medical units will also be deployed to vaccinate army personnel in Hambanthota and Boossa areas. (Colombo/ Jan 29/2021)

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