- Lalith Weeratunge tasked to coordinate necessary action in consultation with the relevant countries
- The groups to be vaccinated will be determined based on the need and priority
- COVID vaccines have been developed by a number of countries led by US, UK and China
The government is to expedite the introduction of the Covid vaccine to Sri Lanka. Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga was authorised to coordinate necessary action in consultation with the relevant countries and local health authorities after an in-depth study of the vaccine.
Presidential Media Division said that the President drew the attention of the COVID Committee, the need to expedite introduction of the COVID vaccine to Sri Lanka.
COVID vaccines have been developed by a number of countries led by US, UK and China.
The groups to be vaccinated will be determined based on the need and priority. It was also decided to collect data on high risk areas including plantations, flats and hostels and groups, the PMD said.
Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi, State Minister Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Member of Parliament Madura Vithana, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, officials of the airport and aviation and members of the COVID Prevention Committee were also present.
- The groups to be vaccinated will be determined based on the need and priority. It was also decided to collect data on high risk areas including plantations, flats and hostels and groups
Procurement, distribution and administering of COVID-19 vaccine
UN assures support to Sri Lanka
With several countries having started COVID-19 vaccination, the United Nations has assured Sri Lanka its support for procuring, distributing and administering of the vaccine.
This pledge was made yesterday during a meeting between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and a U.N. delegation comprising of U.N. Resident Coordinator Ms. Hanaa Singer, WHO Representative Dr. Razia Pendse and UNICEF Representative Mr. Tim Sutton.
“We are fully committed to support Sri Lanka in these challenging times,” Ms. Singer said.
The U.N. delegation and Sri Lankan officials agreed that vaccination at such a mass scale will require a whole-of-government approach to ensure Sri Lanka’s preparedness for the delivery and administering of the vaccine once it arrives.
“In many countries, we are seeing a dangerous second wave of COVID-19,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said. “It seems that vaccines will be the only measure that can bring an end to this pandemic,” he said. In April this year, a global collaboration called “Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator” was established “to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.” Under this programme, the “COVAX Facility” will offer vaccine doses for at least 20% of an eligible countries’ population, which will initially consist of high-risk groups.
Mr. Sutton stressed the importance of preparedness and creating awareness among the public. He also told the Prime Minister that while UNICEF was already assisting with procurement during the initial phase, it can also assist the Government with vaccine procurement beyond the initial 20%. Dr. Pendse briefed the meeting on the global vaccine landscape and stressed that even with the vaccine, people will still need to take precautions.
“It’s still a new vaccine,” Dr. Pendse said. “It protects people from dying, but we don’t know how much it will reduce the transmission.”
“One of the key messages that emerged from the meeting from all officials is that people cannot become complacent even after receiving the vaccine. While studies are ongoing, doctors say it’s still not certain how long the vaccine’s protection will last. Furthermore, according to doctors, it’s also uncertain whether the vaccine completely removes the virus or just reduces the viral load. If it’s the latter, a vaccinated person is still able to infect others,” it is said.
Even with vaccination, the public is still strongly encouraged to continue wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining adequate physical distance. “
Quote-One of the key messages that emerged from the meeting from all officials is that people cannot become complacent even after receiving the vaccine.