The Government is in discussion with the British and Australian Governments to secure the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine doses to continue the domestic vaccination drive.
Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said these Governments have excess doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine since they were continuing their vaccination drive with the Pfizer vaccine.
“We have come to know that there are 4.5 million doses of the vaccine with these two countries and we are trying to secure a part of that to meet our requirement until the situation in India eases,” the Minister told the Sunday Observer.
Sri Lanka placed an order for 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine to India’s vaccine producer Serum Institute. The Indian Government donated 500,000 doses and the remaining one million is yet to be received.
In March, India suspended vaccine exports due to the spike in domestic cases and the country recorded the highest daily figure of over 400,000 cases yesterday.
President’s Senior Advisor and Head of the Presidential Task Force for National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for Covid-19 vaccines Lalith Weeratunga last week said, “According to medical experts we need to vaccinate 13 million of our 21 million population to counter the effects of the virus,”
Under the state vaccination program 925,242 have been vaccinated so far.
The Government started the vaccine rollout in late Janaury 2021 and last week the Epidemiology Unit began giving the booster shot for frontline health and other workers.
Weeratunga said the Government has reserved 356,000 doses of the vaccine for the second dose which is administered within 12-16 weeks of the first dose. The extra doses should be acquired within three months to continue the ongoing drive uninterrupted.