By Vyshnavy Velrajh
The Serum Institute has assured Sri Lanka it will send coronavirus vaccines ordered by the country despite a crisis in India, but is yet to confirm the date of delivery.
State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply, and Regulation Channa Jayasumana told Colombo Gazette that Sri Lanka is currently in possession of 350,000 doses of the vaccine.
He said the Serum Institute of India, which is the manufacturer of the Covishield AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, has confirmed that it will deliver more doses to Sri Lanka.
State Minister Jayasumana said however, the Serum Institute is yet to confirm the date of delivery.
He said the Government expects the vaccines to arrive by the end of April or early May.
The State Minister said despite a hike in Covid cases in India currently and a local demand for the vaccine, the Serum Institute of India has confirmed the delivery of more AstraZeneca vaccines to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is awaiting more vaccines from the Serum Institute to complete the second dose of the jab for over 900,000 Sri Lankans.
The Government had announced yesterday that it will commence the inoculation of the second dose from May.
The Indian Government said last week that it only had 27 million doses – or enough jabs for nine days at current rates of vaccination, for its people.
India is currently vaccinating health workers, front line workers and people over 45 but a number of states – including the worst affected Maharashtra state – have reported insufficient supply. There have been reports of people being turned away from vaccination centres in many areas.
The BBC had reported that vaccine suppliers such as the Serum Institute have been unable to meet international requirements and have also warned of raw material shortages affecting production, which it attributed to US export bans on specific items needed to make vaccines. (Colombo Gazette)