COLOMBO, July 13 (Xinhua) — Sri Lankan authorities on Monday began administering the Sinopharm vaccines to teachers and school staff across the country, with an aim to re-open schools as soon as possible.
Minister of Education G.L. Peiris, who attended one of the vaccination centers in Colombo, along with several other ministers and Army Commander Shavendra Silva, said they hoped to complete vaccinating teachers, principals, and non-academic employees within a week.
Accordingly, arrangements have been made to vaccinate all school employees of 10,155 schools in the country under this program, Peiris said.
The minister added that this program had been launched directly under the directives of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, following which discussions were held with all the provincial governors, chief secretaries, provincial directors of education, and the health division.
Peiris said continuing to keep schools closed in this manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic was not possible and expressed confidence that this vaccination program would be completed soon.
Health authorities said that following the arrival of a batch of Sinopharm vaccine on Sunday morning, doses had been distributed to the respective districts to begin vaccinating teachers.
According to official statistics from the Health Ministry, nearly 3 million people in Sri Lanka, above the age of 30 years, have received the Sinopharm vaccines in Sri Lanka to date, making it the leading vaccine to be administered among the general public.
Out of the nearly 3 million people jabbed, over 1 million have received their second injections as well, Health Ministry statistics showed.
(The photographs are by Ajith Perera/Xinhua)