By Easwaran Rutnam
The Government has decided to temporarily suspend the Covid vaccination programme.
State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Sudarshani Fernandopulle told Daily Mirror the vaccination programme was suspended from Wednesday night.
She said the Covid vaccination programme was temporarily suspended as there was a delay in securing more AstraZeneca vaccines.
The Serum Institute of India recently suspended exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation Professor Channa Jayasumana had assured last week that Sri Lanka will receive a stock of AstraZeneca vaccines ordered from the Serum Institute on time.
However, Daily Mirror learns that Sri Lanka has not been able to secure an assurance the next stock of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive on time.
As a result, the Government has decided to temporarily suspend the vaccination programme in order to ensure the remaining stocks in hand are kept for the second jab, if required.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that the second dose be administered in 12 weeks.
The Government commenced the mass vaccination program on January 29 after receiving the first stock of AstraZeneca vaccines from India.
Sri Lanka has so far vaccinated over 900,000 people using AstraZeneca vaccines obtained from India through the Serum Institute of India and vaccines obtained through the COVAX Facility.
The second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was to be administered from April 19.