Japan considers Sri Lanka’s request for AstraZeneca vaccines

Japan is considering a request from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

President Rajapaksa had put forward the request to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

A response from the Japanese Prime Minister was relayed to the President during a discussion held between the Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Sugiyama Akira and President Rajapaksa today, the President’s Media Division.

The Japanese Ambassador further stated that the Japanese Government has also agreed to provide necessary medical assistance for Sri Lanka’s fight against the coronavirus.

Sri Lanka has vaccinated nearly one million people with the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine from India.

However, there is a shortage of the vaccine due to a fire at the Serum Institute of India which manufactures the vaccine, and also due to the sudden outbreak of the virus in India causing a significant increase in local demand for the vaccine.

Sri Lanka initially received 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine free of charge from India and the Government later purchased another 500,000 vaccines.

The Government was in possession of around 350,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to use as the second dose.

Part of the stock in hand was utilized to provide the second jab to frontline healthcare workers, the Military and the Police.

However, the Government is desperately looking for another 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to administer to those who got the fist jab. (Colombo Gazette)