President holds talks with WHO chief on AstraZeneca shortage

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus held discussions on the coronavirus situation and shortage of vaccines via zoom technology today.

President Rajapaksa said he has faith that Dr. Tedros will make efforts to fulfill Sri Lanka’s need for 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for the 2nd jab.

He said globally, there is a need for 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the 2nd dose.

The President further revealed that at the meeting, it transpired that approval would be given in another 2-3 days for the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to be used for emergency use.

“With that approval, Sri Lanka will be able to start vaccinating our people with the current stock of 600,000 Sinopharm doses in hand,” he tweeted.

The President said while commending Sri Lanka’s control of the pandemic during the first wave, Dr. Tedros was hopeful that the current surge in affected persons would be soon brought under control.

President Rajapaksa had thereafter appreciated the support the WHO has been providing at the regional and Colombo office level.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for today’s call on the response to COVID-19.

He said discussions were held on the need to keep implementing public health measures to control transmission.

Dr. Tedros further said he had stressed the WHO’s commitment to helping Sri Lanka overcome challenges in accessing needed vaccines. (Colombo Gazette)

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