The COVAX facility is in talks with India to try and expedite the next tranche of vaccines for Sri Lanka.
Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Sri Lanka, Emma Brigham told the Daily Mirror that the partners in the COVAX Facility and UNICEF are working closely and at the highest levels on the issue.
She said that they are working with the Government of India and with the Serum Institute of India to try and expedite as much as possible the receipt of the next tranche of vaccines for Sri Lanka.
Serum Institute has temporarily suspended the export of Oxford Astrazeneca vaccines on the instructions of the Indian Government.
The first batch of coronavirus vaccines from the COVAX facility obtained through the Serum Institute arrived in Sri Lanka on March 7.
UNICEF delivered 264,000 doses of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine as the first shipment provided to Sri Lanka under the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility.
UNICEF had been contracted with procuring and delivering the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka. The vaccines are part of the 1.44 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility allocated for the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka. As part of the agreement between the Ministry of Health and the COVAX Facility, the supply of the 1.44 million doses was to be procured by UNICEF in stages until May 2021, subject to the availability from manufacturers and authorization by WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL). (EASWARAN RUTNAM)