Officials dismiss claims of shortage of funds

The Government today dismissed claims that there was a shortage of funds to purchase more Covid vaccines.

Cabinet co-spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said there was no financial issue in acquiring the necessary vaccines for Sri Lanka.

He said currently there was a shortage of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine due to an issue with the manufacturer.

The Minister said that the Serum Institute of India which had manufactured the Covishield vaccine was currently facing a local demand due to the Covid outbreak in India.

Minister Keheliya Rambukwella explained that initially when Sri Lanka placed its order for the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine India was not facing a Covid crisis.

He said however, the situation in India has now changed, leading to a local demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Due to this, the Serum Institute is unable to deliver the vaccine doses as promised to Sri Lanka.

The Government is looking at alternative measures to resolve the shortage of the vaccine in Sri Lanka, the Minister said.

The Cabinet co-spokesman said the Government has also commenced discussions with manufacturers of the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries to resolve this issue.

Minister Rambukwella said the Government is also looking at signing up with other countries to receive different brands of the coronavirus vaccine.

He added that research was also being conducted on the possibility of mixing coronavirus vaccine brands for the 1st and second jab.

The Minister said the World Health Organization is monitoring this development and is yet to approve the mixing of vaccine brands. (Colombo Gazette)