Sri Lanka receives 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from India
On Thursday, Sri Lanka received 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines that was ordered from India.
“Actively aiding #lka win against COVID, 2nd consignment of 500,000 COVISHIELD vaccines arrived from #India to #lka today,” the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka tweeted.
Channa Jayasumana, Sri Lanka`s health minister said, “500,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine arrived on Thursday. The new batch was ordered under an agreement between the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) of Sri Lanka and the Serum Institute of India.”
On Friday, the vaccines will be distributed.
India has gifted 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Sri Lanka in January that led to vaccine roll out in Sri Lanka. The vaccines were given to the frontline workers and the security personnel.
At a cost of USD 52.5 million, 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India were ordered. 3.5 million doses directly from AstraZeneca Institute of UK under the COVAX programme were ordered.
The next batch from India will come in March, health officials said.
Ramesh Pathirana, who is also the Minister of Plantations, earlier said, “Sri Lanka is likely to go only with the AstraZeneca vaccines for the second phase of vaccination as the Chinese and Russian vaccines are not ready yet.”
Last month, India announced it will send Covid-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries – Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius.
After India donated 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka last month under ”Neighbourhood First” policy, Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked India for the help.
Pathirana also said that best medical advice would be given to the government about when the second dose should be given. Initially, it was believed that the second dose should be given after four weeks.
The efficacy of the vaccine would increase if the second dose is delayed by three months, health experts have said.
To get rid of the coronavirus and procure coronavirus vaccines, many countries have approached India that is the World`s biggest drug makers.