Japan has decided to provide 1.45 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured there to Sri Lanka through the COVAX Facility of the World Health Organisation (WHO)to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, the Japanese embassy said.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka from Japan during the coming weeks.
The Japanese embassy said the decision had been taken in response to the request by the Sri Lankan Government and as a part of Japan’s support for ensuring equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for as many people as possible in the fight against COVID-19.
In addition, as a part of the “Last Mile Support”, the Government of Japan has been providing cold chain equipment through UNICEF, to establish a proper system of vaccination as well as to ensure equitable access to the vaccines for all people throughout the country. This includes cold storage boxes and vaccine carriers to store vaccines at the appropriate temperature and transport the vaccines to local vaccination centres.
“As a time-honoured friend of Sri Lanka, the Government of Japan hopes to contribute, through these supports, to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to further accelerate the vaccination programme and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.
Japan has provided USD 16.2 million to Sri Lanka to assist its efforts to combat COVID-19 and has also pledged USD 1 billion to the COVAX facility to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines in developing countries. Japan will continue to stand in solidarity with Sri Lanka in this joint combat against COVID-19,” the embassy said.