Indian vaccine to arrive in small batches – President’s Senior Advisor | Sunday Observer
To meet second jab requirement

Indian vaccine to arrive in small batches – President’s Senior Advisor

25 April, 2021

The President’s Senior Advisor Lalith Weeratunga said despite the tragic situation in India he was hopeful the remaining AstraZeneca vaccine from the Indian producer would arrive in small batches to meet the second jab requirement domestically.

He said Sri Lanka placed an order for 1.5 million doses from the Serum Institute, India and 500,000 doses of this order arrived on January 28 as a grant from the Indian Government.

“We are hopeful the remaining order will arrive in time for us to complete the second shot,” he said adding that however, the Government has already begun discussions with other countries producing the AstraZeneca to secure a consignment of vaccines until the situation in India eases.

It is hoped that India would issue the remaining one million doses even in small quantities, like 250,000 at a time.

Under the state vaccination program 925,242 have been vaccinated so far. According to medical experts we need to vaccinate 13 million of our 21 million population to counter the effects of the virus.

Weeratunga said 356,000 doses have been preserved so far to begin the booster shot for those who have already received their first shot.

Initially, it was agreed that the second dose should be given after four weeks, but further research has now established that giving the second dose within 12-16 weeks is more effective.

He said since the second dose is to be given within 12-16 weeks we have three months to bring down the vaccines for the second round.

In addition, the Government is awaiting approvals from the NMRA to administer the Chinese Sinopharm Vaccine.

“We received 600,000 doses of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine Sinopharm. There was a request to give 5,000 doses of it to the Chinese workers in Sri Lanka.

Already it has been administered and we have not come across any side effects,” Weeratunga said.

NMRA granted approval to bring it down but we need to get specific approval to give it to our people.

We expect that within the next two to three weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) will also approve the Sinopharm vaccine. If so, we can use it on our people. The details of the Synopharm vaccine program will be conveyed to the people in the coming days.

The Health authorities will commence administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca by the first week of May.