Frontline Health Force of the Army Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

The vaccination of Indian government-gifted ‘AstraZeneca Covishield’ vaccine for military personnel began this morning at Colombo Army Hospital by jabbing the first few doses to a representative group of Army personnel working in the frontline against transmission of COVID 19 in the country.

Sri Lanka Army personnel, now playing a prominent role in the practice of quarantining vulnerable categories and healing COVID-19 affectees while actively contributing to arrest its transmission would accordingly receive the COVID-19 jab through 15 island-wide Military Hospitals, beginning today (29). After the first dose was inoculated to Colonel Saveen Semage, Deputy Director, Directorate of Army Preventive Medicine and Mental Health Services, two more frontline Army personnel (Officer and Other Rank) representing the line of command in the organization received their doses.

Major General Senarath Bandara, Chief of Staff, together with Senior Officers and the Assistant Defence Attaché in the High Commission of India welcomed General Shavendra Silva, Head, National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army on arrival at the hospital premises as the Chief Guest for the inaugural occasion.

Medical Officers at the Colombo Army Hospital adopting medical procedures afterwards jabbed the first dose of the vaccine. Heralding the start of the vaccination project for frontline Army workers, just in less than 24 hours after the first consignment of India-gifted vaccines reached Colombo and was received by HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday (28) afternoon.

In a generous move, the Indian government under its ‘neighbours first’ policy responded to Sri Lanka's Presidential request swiftly and went to the extent of buying the 500,000 stock through India's main laboratory before it was thus dispatched free of charge to Colombo by the Air India flight A1 281 on Thursday (28) noon.

“This Covishield vaccine injected in two doses per person will be first used at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Colombo, National Hospital, Ragama Hospital and six other hospitals, including the Colombo Army Hospital and the Panagoda Army Hospital beginning today (29). From tomorrow, it will be taken to other areas and all Army Hospitals as planned. This vaccination is restricted strictly to those whose names have already been listed and the entire programme will remain very transparent,” General Shavendra Silva was quoted saying.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Army medical teams covering frontline Navy, Air Force and Policemen serving at all island-wide Intermediate Care Centres, Quarantine Centres, Hospitals, and also tri-servicemen, Policemen engaged in airport operation will carry out vaccination of the ‘Covishield’ jab beginning today (29) as per directions given by General Shavendra Silva, Head, National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army.

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