President orders to ensure no influence in vaccination process

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued instructions to the authorities to ensure there is no political influence in the Covid vaccination process.

Cabinet co-spokesman Minister Ramesh Pathirana told reporters today that the vaccination programme had commenced at high risk areas, such as Colombo and Gampaha.

He said no one has the right to use political influence to obtain vaccines for themselves, or their associates.

Minister Ramesh Pathirana urged health officials not to succumb to such pressure and to taken independent decision during such instances.

The Cabinet co-spokesman further said the Government condemns such actions and is yet to officially receive reports on any such incident.

He said however, if such incidents are reported, the Government will take action against those involved.

Minister Pathirana re-iterated that the Government rejects political influence being used with regard to the vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, responding to questions on allegations raised on the vaccination of former cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya, Minister Pathirana said certain prominent figures were vaccinated to build trust among the public.

He said initially only vulnerable groups were administered the vaccine, but thereafter certain prominent figures in the country were also vaccinated to send a message to the public on the safety of the vaccine.

Minister Ramesh Pathirana also said this was conducted to prevent criticism raised by the Opposition parties, which could have a negative impact on the ongoing vaccination programme.

When inquired if Secretary to the Ministry of Primary Health Services, Epidemiology and Covid prevention Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva was transferred due to permitting the vaccination of Jayasuriya, Minister Ramesh said the transfer was not connected to this particular incident. (Colombo Gazette)