Colombo, May 17 (Daily Mirror) – Despite an announcement by the Mayor of Colombo, Rosy Senanayake and other government officials over the weekend that Sri Lanka had been able to secure Astrazeneca vaccines for the second round, the Daily Mirror learns that the government is yet to make a breakthrough as no official confirmation had been received by the negotiating parties.
A senior Health Ministry source said that there had been no confirmation of receiving the vaccines but the government was trying hard to purchase the remaining 600,000 vaccines so that people could receive their second shots without any delay. Talks were ongoing with all manufacturers including UK and South Korea but Sri Lanka was yet to receive positive confirmation.
State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurveda Hospitals Development and Community Health, Channa Jayasumana told Daily Mirror that Sri Lanka had begun negotiations with over 15 private companies to purchase the remaining dosages.
These are big-time global companies that had purchased the Astrazeneca doses for its employees but were having extra stocks which now Sri Lanka had requested to purchase. While some of these private companies had responded positively to the Sri Lankan government’s request, Sri Lanka had sought confirmation from the parent company who had sold these vaccines to these private companies to validate its authenticity.
As soon as confirmation is received from the parent company, the State Pharmaceutical Corporation will go ahead and purchase 600,000 vaccines to enable the second round of vaccines to be administered to those who had received the first jabs.
The Daily Mirror learns that if Sri Lanka is purchasing the doses through these private companies, the price of each vaccine will be higher than what was purchased directly from the parent company.
Jayasumana also said that the government was in state-level discussions with countries manufacturing the Astrazeneca vaccines and will see if the vaccines could also be purchased at a government to government level.
However, a confirmed date as to when these vaccines could be purchased and when it would arrive in Sri Lanka is yet to be finalized.
Meanwhile, although rumours were rife that tests were ongoing to see if separate vaccines could be mixed in case if the required vaccines fail to come in on time, the World Health Organization has to date not recommended mixing of different vaccine types which means that presently those vaccinated with the Astrazeneca in the first round will have no choice but to await the next stock to receive their second vaccine. (Jamila Husain)