State hospitals to speed up inoculation drive | Sunday Observer

State hospitals to speed up inoculation drive

4 July, 2021

State hospitals will continue to be a part of the Covid-19 inoculation drive to speed up the program with a new target from President Gotabaya Rajapaka to vaccinate all above 30 years in the Western Province before the end of this month.

The President met Health officials and Covid-19 task force officials on Friday where it was revealed that 60 percent of the people over 30 years in Colombo, 47 percent in Gampaha and 34 percent in Kalutara have been vaccinated so far. The Government aims to vaccinate 60 percent of the 22 million population by the end of the year.

The President expressed the hope that a stock of Astrazeneca vaccine doses will arrive shortly to give the second dose to the nearly 600,000 people who received the first shot early this year.

SPC Chairman Dr. Prasanna Gunasena said that those who received the Astrazeneca first shot can wait up to 45 weeks, and this long interval will in fact lead to a better immune response, according to new research by the Oxford University, UK. President Rajapaksa said a substantial percentage of the population could be vaccinated by September, if the ongoing pace of the inoculation drive is maintained. On Thursday, a record 169,957 people above 30 were vaccinated, Health officials said. Up to Thursday, 2,889,602 had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 1,146,978 had received both doses.

According to SriLankan Airlines officials, one million doses of Sinopharm vaccine arrived at the BIA on Friday. Two million more doses are expected next week. State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana said the Government will receive a stock of Pfizer vaccines under the WHO’s Covax facility on Monday. Health Minister Pavithra Vanniarachchi said the Government has spent US $425.6 million to buy vaccines so far. The breakdown is US $ 52 m for Covishield, US $ 217m for Sinopharm, US $ 129m for Sputnik V and US $ 33.7m for Pfizer. Minister Wanniarachchi told Parliament recently that the World Bank and the ADB have agreed to fund the procurement of vaccines. According to the Health Ministry, on Friday, 1,773 new Covid-19 cases were reported, increasing the number of cases reported to 262,795. There have been 3,157 deaths attributed to the pandemic.