The Astra Zeneca vaccines which has already been administered to over 900,000 people in the Western Province including frontline and health workers are responding well to the new variant of COVID-19 which is rapidly spreading in the country, officials from the Health Promotion Bureau told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
Officials said that to date, there had hardly been any cases of those who had received the first dose of vaccination to have contracted the new variant of the COVID-19 but in future, if they do face a threat of being infected, they will have a very low chance of advanced disease or complications
"Basically all the vaccinations which are available in the world today are responding well to all the variants of the COVID-19 which are in the world including the mutated versions. Infact a recent study by the University of Sri Jayawardenapura shows that those vaccinated have better immunity than even those infected," HPB officials said.
"That is why it is extremely important that everyone is vaccinated we vaccinations are the only way out," officials said.
Meanwhile, as discussions continue to purchase more AstraZeneca doses, health experts said that with more mutated versions now spreading rapidly globally, a third vaccination dose known as the 'booster' might need to be administered in the future. Experts were discussing this possibility and manufacturers were gearing up to cater to the third vaccine.
As the new COVID-19 variant is spreading rapidly in Sri Lanka, health officials have urged everyone to keep their masks on and wear double masks if possible, now that this new variant has become airborne.
Further, masks should not be removed when out of the house, especially while in offices, as the coronavirus has a higher transmission rate in closed spaces than outdoors.
"We urge everyone not to stay in closed spaces for more than 30 minutes. For offices, we encourage them to have a proper ventilation system which will circulate the air. Windows must be kept open and air conditioners must be avoided. Health guidelines must be strictly followed," officials from the HPB said.
Meanwhile, anyone suffering from cough, cold, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath have been urged to seek medical help immediately and avoid coming in contact with anyone else. (JAMILA HUSAIN)