The Health Ministry has decided on a priority list of recipients of the coronavirus vaccine which consists of vulnerable groups. Among the recipients identified are people above 60 years of age, frontline workers and others.
Consultant Epidemiologist at the Health Ministry Dr. Deepa Gamage said that the first set of recipients of the vaccine will depend on the vaccine brand.
Sri Lanka is to receive the vaccine through the COVAX programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to administer to 20 percent of the population.
“Initially we were told we had to pay for the vaccine. Later we were told that the vaccine for 20 percent of the population will be given free of charge.the rest we need to purchase if we require.but the situation keeps changing so we are not sure how things will be later,” she said.
Speaking at a discussion held with regards to the coronavirus vaccine, dr. deepa Gamage said people above the age of 60,people suffering from serious illnesses, doctors and medical staff and other frontline workers often dealing with coronavirus patients and staff employed at institutions crucial to the economy of the country like the airport have been identified as those who will receive the vaccine in Sri Lanka.
Dr. deepa Gamage said that the vaccine for 20 percent of the population will be received in two stages. She said that the first set of recipients will depend on the initial quantity of the Covid vaccine which Sri Lanka will receive. “The health authorities in Sri Lanka will discuss and decide the people who the need the vaccine the most and give them the first set,” she said. Dr. deepa Gamage also said that private sector involvement to import and sell the vaccine has also not been ruled out. On the type of vaccines available in the market, dr. deepa Gamage said that based on available information the vaccine will last only for a year after being injected. She said that Pfizer-biontech is the only vaccine approved so far by the World Health Organisation for emergency use.(EASWARAN RUTNAM)