- Negotiations underway with India, China and Russia to get jabs
By Kelum Bandara
The government will start the Covid-19 vaccine rollout by the last week of February or early March, an official said yesterday.
Principal Advisor to the president Lalith Weeratunga told Daily Mirror yesterday bilateral discussions are underway to obtain the jabs from India, China and Russia at the moment. The World Health Organization (WHO) will donate free of charge vaccine doses required for 20 percent of the population. The Health Ministry is required to submit the national programme in this regard to the WHO before tonight.
“We don’t know what vaccine the WHO will provide us free of charge,” he said.
Mr. Weeratnunga said the national vaccine rollout in India would be an experience for Sri Lanka. Commenting on the Chinese vaccines, he said the countries such as Indonesia had started inoculation of their people with them. He noted Sri Lanka would endorse vaccines once approved by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA). Earlier, State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana said India had agreed to donate a consignment of vaccines by the end of this month. India is the manufacturer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Besides, China has devolved two Covid-19 vaccines – Sinopharm and Sinovac. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy told Daily Mirror yesterday China would respond positively to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request very soon.
He said both Sinopharm and Sinovac were effective vaccines, and ten million people in China had already been vaccinated.
He said these vaccines are used in countries such as Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt.
The leaders of some of these countries have already received their shots.