Colombo, May 5 (Daily Mirror) – The government will explore the possibility of giving the second jab of anti Covid- 19 vaccine using a different brand from the one used for the first dose, to accelerate the inoculation process, Co-cabinet spokesman, Plantation Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said yesterday.
He said that it was also a solution to a possible short supply of vaccines in the future.
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“The World Health Organisation has begun clinical studies to determine whether it is safe to give the second jab with a different brand of vaccine to those who had already got the first one,” he added.
Sri Lanka would start giving the second jab with a different kind of vaccine, soon after the WHO gave the approval, he said.
Addressing the weekly Cabinet news briefing held last morning, using the zoom technology, Minister Pathirana in response to journalists said the government had 345,000 of anti Covid- 19 vaccines in stock and the second jab should be given within 12 to 16 weeks. The government had already given the first jab to nearly one million Sri Lankans using the Astrazeneca vaccine airlifted from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
“No one should become unnecessarily panicky about the Covid- 19 viral infection, but must be extremely concerned and be on alert as the virus of a different variant that has brought the third wave of the pandemic is more virulent, fatal, strong and highly contagious. People can keep the pandemic at bay by strictly adhering to the health guidelines and security protocol. However vaccination of patients is the only cure to the disease,” Minister Pathirana stressed.
Minister Pathirana said the government had taken all possible steps to control the spreading of the pandemic and had increased the PCR tests rapidly.
“The number of beds at state hospitals allocated for the Covid- 19 patients have been increased by 3,000 from the current capacity of 14,455 beds and introduced the 24- hour- hotline 1909 to alert health authorities to ensure all patients get in-ward hospital treatment,” he said
Co- Cabinet spokesman, Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government was in search of purchasing other brands of vaccines with the assistance of the WHO and added the government had enough funds to procure anti Covid- 19 vaccines from any country.
“We expect 15,000 doses of Sputnik V from Russia and another 13.5 million doses from other countries. We can cope-up with the situation if we get a minimum of at least 100,000 delivery of vaccines a week,” he noted.
The government was awaiting the approval of the WHO to start the rolling out of the Chinese made Sinopharm vaccine in Sri Lanka with the 600,000 vials donated by China, he said.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet on Monday gave the go ahead to Health Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi to expedite the purchase of the testing kits and other equipment required to carry out the PCR rests as required. (Jamila Husain)