The Government assured today that there was no move to mix coronavirus vaccine brands for the first and second jabs.
State Minister Dr. Sudharshini Fernandopulle informed Parliament that the vaccine brands cannot be mixed as per the existing guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics, and COVID Disease Control further pointed out that she was unsure if the process may change in the future.
She went on to say that if an individual had been administered the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as the first jab, that person will receive the same vaccine brand for the second jab.
State Minister Fernandopulle expressed these views when responding to a question raised by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa on whether the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccine would be provided as the second dose, due to a lack of AstraZeneca vaccine stocks at present.
MP Premadasa also questioned what the correct time frame was to administer the second jab.
He pointed out that the WHO had advised to provide the second jab in 12 weeks since administering the first dose.
MP Premadasa said however, the Government is now claiming that the second jab is best administered between 14-16 weeks since the first jab.
Responding to his queries, State Minister Sudharshini Fernandopulle said the vaccination programme commenced on 29th January, 2021.
She said initially the WHO instructed to provide the second jab in 4 weeks since administering the first dose.
However, further research has revealed that it is best administered after 12 weeks, as it will help increase the immunity by 95%.
More recent developments have revealed that the second jab is best provided after 14- 16 weeks since the first dose, the State Minister explained.
State Minister Fernandopulle said despite the ongoing research and developments, the Government will commence administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the first week of May. (Colombo Gazette)