Colombo, April 26 (Daily Mirror) – The vaccination is the only solution to stop the spread of COVID-19 and that the government has a systematic and strong programme in place to vaccinate the public, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.
He emphasised that in order to overcome this challenge, the people should strictly follow all the rules and regulations recommended by the health authorities, as they did in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has made arrangements to import four of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and to be approved in the near future by the WHO, he added.
The first imported Astrazeneca vaccine has been administered to 925,242 people. The second dose of the vaccine is scheduled to be given in the first week of May. The second dose will be given to 356,000 people, including frontline health officials and tri-forces and police officers engaged in the control of COVID-19 pandemic. The government is now in talks with the rest of the pharmaceutical firms, who produce the Astrazeneca vaccine to meet the remaining demand, the President informed.
He claimed that 200,000 doses of the Russian made “Sputnik” V vaccine will be available by the end of April, while 400,000 doses in May, 800,000 doses in June and 1,200,000 doses in July will be available in the country. The Cabinet approval has already been granted to import 13 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine he stated.
President Rajapaksa also said that plans are already afoot to distribute 600,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID19 vaccines donated by China to the people of Sri Lanka in the next few weeks with the approval of the World Health Organisation.
In addition, the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation has already signed the preliminary agreements required for the importation of the Pfizer vaccine and the Government is in the process of importing the vaccine as soon as possible, he added.
“The Head of the World Health Organisation reiterated in Geneva last Saturday that adherence to basic public health guidelines is the backbone of the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a Face Mask properly, occasional handwashing with soap or hand disinfectants, the practice of social distancing, and avoidance of nonessential events are most important,” he observed.