By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya
Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 vaccination drive kicked off yesterday at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Angoda and Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, a specialist at IDH was the first to receive the Indian government-gifted ‘AstraZeneca Covishield’ vaccine for the health sector.
Later, the Chief Nurse of the hospital Geethani Udugamakorala was vaccinated.
State Minister Sudarshani Fernandopulle and Indian High Commissioner Gopal Bagley, Covid-19 Vaccine Committee Chairman and Senior Advisor to the President, Lalith Weerathunga and several health and WHO representatives attended the inaugural ceremony.
At least 2,000 frontline workers are scheduled to be vaccinated on the first day. The vaccination of the frontline military personnel commenced at the Army Hospital in Narahenpita and two army officers and a soldier in the front-line of fighting COVID-19 were vaccinated with Covishield.
The first dose was administered to Colonel Saveen Semage, Deputy Director, Directorate of Army Preventive Medicine and Mental Health Services while two more frontline Army personnel representing the line of command in the organisation also received their doses. Army Commander General Shavendra Silva who is also the Head of National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) participated at this occasion. Also, the vaccination drive commenced at six more hospitals in the Western Province yesterday.
Accordingly, the staff of the Accident Ward at the National Hospital in Colombo including doctors and nurses were vaccinated. It was reported that the entire staff of the Colombo National Hospital will be vaccinated in the next three days.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 vaccination drive was also commenced at the Colombo East Teaching Hospital in Mulleriyawa, Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila, Colombo North Teaching Hospital in Ragama, Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital and Homagama Base Hospital. At least 250 staff members, including doctors and nurses, of the Homagama hospital were vaccinated yesterday.
The Sri Lanka Air Force commenced its vaccination programme yesterday at the Air Force Hospital in Colombo by administering the first few doses to frontline health workers.
From today, it will be taken to hospitals in other areas and all Army Hospitals. Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said that the vaccination is restricted strictly to those whose names have already been listed and the entire programme will remain very transparent.
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