Colombo, November 27 (NewsWire) – The Government will facilitate the first round of COVID-19 Vaccines, once released to the market, to be received by 4.2 million Sri Lankans, Health Minister Pavithra Waniarachchi informed Parliament yesterday.
The Minister stated that the first round of vaccines will be provided to 20% of Sri Lanka’s population.
A national committee has been appointed to look into COVID-19 vaccines despite vaccines still being in trial stages and with no fixed date for its availability to the public.
Three technical subcommittees have been appointed to focus on matters such as target groups for the vaccine, prioritization, cost, and usage, the Health Minister said.
Discussions on the Covid vaccine have been continuously followed by Health Ministry officials since the outbreak in March, while they have also joined COVAX, which is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
COVAX focuses on accelerating the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. COVAX also offers a diverse and actively managed portfolio of vaccines, immediate delivery of vaccines upon availability, an end to the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rebuilding of economies, she explained.
Commenting on the Rapid Antigen Test kits, the Health Minister said 4000 tests have been carried out so far. The tests are being used to decide if patients with symptoms can be discharged from treatment centres and to test if an individual had contracted the virus previously.
Epidemiologists are yet to state a necessity for antigen tests to monitor the spread of the virus in the country, she said.
The Health Minister further said that as all decisions pertaining to COVID-19 prevention are taken based on the recommendations of epidemiologists, the antigen tests will be used in prevention measures as soon as epidemiologists indicate to such a need.
Minister Wanniarchchi made the comments in response to a question raised by Leader of the Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Sajith Premadasa in Parliament yesterday (26).