The World Health Organisation (WHO) assured that a qualified vaccine could be made available for Sri Lanka by March, next year, and the Sri Lankan health authorities have stepped in accordingly to improve cold chain requirements for the storage of doses ahead of inoculation, an official said yesterday.
A top level meeting took place on Tuesday between the Government officials and the WHO representatives on cooperation under COVAX which is the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.
A top official who wished to remain anonymous told Daily Mirror that Sri Lanka was primarily getting ready for a vaccine to be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees of Celsius. However, the official said the cold storage facilities would be improved at hospital levels even to accommodate vaccines required to be kept at minus level temperature if the need arose.
“We will be ready even for a vaccine to be stored at minus 20 Celsius,” the official said.there are several Who-prequalified vaccine candidates in the world. The WHO will provide 20 percent of the vaccine requirement for Sri Lanka free of charge. Sri Lanka is yet to decide which group of the population will receive the jabs first.
However, the health official said the country should not ease restrictions imposed in view of the pandemic despite a vaccine being introduced.
“It is always better to contain transmission because of the possibility of new strains of the virus,” the official said. (KELUM BANDARA)