ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed Sri Lanka’s health authorities to vaccinate all citizens above 30 years of age in the western province against COVID-19 by July 31, the president’s office said.
Official health ministry data shows 60 percent of the over-30 population in the Colombo district have received the first dose of a vaccine, while 47 percent and 34 percent have received the first dose in the Gampaha and Kalutara districts respectively.
In statement released Friday afternoon (02), President Rajapaksa called for the systematic inoculation of a higher percentage of people in all parts of the island before September 2021.
At a meeting at the presidential secretariat Friday morning, Rajapaksa had instructed health officials to make arrangements to provide the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to some 600,000 Sri Lankans who have yet to receive it.
So far the first dose of AstraZenec a has been administered to 925,242 citizens. Of these, only 381,979 have received the second dose.
Chairman of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) Dr Prasanna Gunasena has noted at the meeting that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that a person who has received the first dose of AstraZeneca can receive the second dose within a period of up to 45 weeks, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the State Ministry of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control said in a separate statement on Friday said the government has decided to prioritise the elderly in Sri Lanka’s vaccine rollout.
The ministry said 72 percent of the country’s senior citizens living in elderly homes in Sri Lanka have been vaccinated by now, adding that the goal is to make it 100 percent as soon as possible.
According to the statement, there are 8,806 senior citizens residing in 349 elderly homes or retirement homes in the country. Of these, 6,360 have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with another 2,446 scheduled to be vaccinated, the ministry said.
“These homes employ about 3,000 staff and they are also to be vaccinated,” it added. (Colombo/July02/2021)