Sri Lanka kicks off vaccination drive with first jabs to Army

Sri Lanka kicked off the coronavirus vaccination drive today (29) with the first jabs given to three soldiers at the Army Hospital in Colombo.

Senior Consultant Physician at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Angoda Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama became the first healthcare official to receive the vaccine.

Frontline health workers, the Army, and Police are on the priority list to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The coronavirus vaccination programme will begin at six hospitals in and around Colombo.

The Health Ministry said earlier that the vaccination programme will be carried out on the staff at six hospitals today.

Health Services Deputy Director General Dr. Hemantha Herath said that selected staff at the Colombo National Hospital, Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Homagama Base Hospital, Colombo East Base Hospital, and the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Angoda will be vaccinated.

He said that around 25% of the staff at these hospitals will be vaccinated at the start.

Coronavirus vaccines gifted by India arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday (28) via a special Air India flight.

Under the Government of India’s #VaccineMaitri programme, India has gifted 500,000 doses of made in India Covishied vaccines to Sri Lanka.

The consignment was transported in a special Air India flight and packed in tailor-made boxes.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Bagley formally handed over the consignment to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake (BIA) yesterday.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. This has been approved for emergency use by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Four consignments of medical supplies weighing around 25 tonnes were donated by India, which also organised online experience-sharing programmes for Sri Lankan medical professionals.

The two partners have also put up a joint front in the COVID-19 battle with India and Sri Lanka being the largest contributors to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had complimented Sri Lanka’s leadership on containing the pandemic.

Guided by ‘Neighbourhood First’ and SAGAR policies, about 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been gifted to neighbouring countries, and those in the Gulf and Indian Ocean since 20 January 2021.

Millions of doses of made-in-India COVID vaccines have also been exported to countries as far away as Latin America and West Asia, and will continue to reach those in the Caribbean and the Pacific too.

In September 2020, Prime Minister Modi told the UN that India’s vaccine capacity will be used to help all humanity fight the COVID pandemic. India, which is called the ‘Pharmacy of the World’, supplied essential medicines to fight COVID-19 to 150 countries, more than half of which was as a gift. (Colombo Gazette)

Pic courtesy @22Dinuk

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