By JAMILA HUSAIN
A proposal will be submitted to cabinet today, to obtain a sum of 52.5 million US dollars from the treasury to purchase 10 million Astra Zeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute in India, the Daily Mirror learns.
According to sources, the proposal will be submitted at the cabinet meeting which will be held later today and permission will be sought to obtain these funds as well as additional funds for the shipment of the vaccines, transportation, storage and other facilities from the treasury.
The cabinet will be informed that these 10 million vaccines will be utilized to vaccinate 5 million people, under the first phase, and once approval is granted, an agreement will be signed between the Serum Institute in India and the Sri Lanka Pharmaceutical Corporation who will procure the vaccines for Sri Lanka.
Further, the Daily Mirror learns that the government aims to vaccinate 14 million people who are listed under the priority groups,as soon as possible.
The government has in recent days, after opening out the vaccination programme to the public, inoculated an estimated 80,000 people while in total an estimated 350,000 people, including front line workers, have been vaccinated since the 500,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccines were donated by the Indian government in late January.
Sri Lanka is expecting a further 1.6 million vaccines of the Astra Zeneca variety under the WHO’s COVAX facility which will arrive in the country by the end of this month and will also soon sign an agreement to purchase a further 10 million doses from the Serum Institute in India once the funds are approved by cabinet.
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