The vaccination of Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka with the Sinopharm vaccine commenced on Monday (05) at the Colombo Port City, Hambantota, Kandy, and Puttlam.
The Ministry of Health said approximately 4000 Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka were given the vaccine.
600,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Sri Lanka from China on 29th March as part of a donation by the Chinese government to the island nation.
Although Sri Lanka’s National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has approved the decision to bring in the Chinese vaccine, they have not approved its use on Sri Lankans.
Over 900,000 Sri Lankans were given the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine since January 2021.
Over 1.2 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine reached Sri Lanka on three separate occasions.
Accordingly, Sri Lanka has 300,000 un-used doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and they will be administered as the second dose on Sri Lankans who already received the jab from the 19th of April 2021.
However, India, one of the world’s largest producers of coronavirus vaccines, has temporarily halted all exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine citing the need to prioritize its own needs.
Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics, and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said the second dose of the vaccine will be administered from April 19th to June 30th and more vaccines are to be expected via the COVAX program while some will be procured.
The Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Sri Lanka, Emma Brigham, at the media briefing on Monday (05) said UNICEF is currently in talks with COVAX and all involved parties as well as the Indian Government and Serum Institute for the procurement of the vaccines.