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HEADLINES Sri Lanka News

Sri Lanka suspends COVID-19 vaccination program

 Sri Lanka suspended the COVID-19 vaccination program with effect from the 31st of March 2021, said State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics, and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle.

This move was made after India placed a temporary hold on all exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as India’s rising cases meant domestic demand was expected to pick up in the coming weeks, and so the doses were needed for India’s rollout.

However, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said Sri Lanka will possibly be able to receive a consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of April 2021.

She said 230,000 doses of the vaccine were retained to provide the second jab for those who have already been vaccinated since the 29th of January.

The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka on Thursday (01st of April) said the Serum Institute of India is yet to respond to Sri Lanka’s requests on securing the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

According to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, as of 31st of March 919,753 people were given the COVID-19 vaccine, while 1.2 million 64,000 doses were shipped to Sri Lanka for the vaccination process.

The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka is the only authorized agent in the country to import the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and SPC had already signed an agreement with the Serum Institute of India for the procurement of 1.5 million doses of the vaccine.

Sri Lanka only received 500,000 doses following that agreement and another 500,000 doses were to be received in March, yet that shipment never arrived.

State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka entered into an agreement to purchase 07 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

SPC General Manager Dinusha Dassanayake speaking to News 1st said Dr. Prasanna Gunasena, the Chairman of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation signed an agreement with representatives from Russia’s Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the producer of the vaccine.

In March 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal to purchase seven (07) million doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccines, and the first consignment will reach the country in mid-April.

SPC General Manager Dinusha Dassanayake said Russia’s Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology agreed to provide the remaining consignments from May to December 2021, media sources reported.

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