Cabinet approves COVID jab for 14 million persons

The government plans to vaccinate 14 million out of the country’s total population against COVID-19.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Plantation Minister Dr.Ramesh Pathirana said the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal submitted by acting Health Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana to take all necessary measures for this.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Dr.Pathirana said Cabinet approval has been granted to sign the Standardised Indemnification Agreement submitted by the COVAX mechanism to expedite the vaccination under the COVAX facility and to purchase 10 million Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine doses for US$ 52.5 million as a direct procurement from the Serum Institute of India.

The Minister said Cabinet also approved the proposal of the acting Health Minister to enter into an agreement with AstraZeneca institute of Britain and the State Pharmaceutical Corporation of Sri Lanka to purchase 3.5 million vaccines.

With regard to the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, the minister said that at the moment the government has decided to vaccinate all 14 million with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine since clinical trials on the Chinese and the Russian vaccine have not yet been completed.

Responding to a another question by a journalist with regard to the ideal gap between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Minister Pathirana said that both local and foreign medical experts have already stated that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is more effective when its second dose is given around three months after the first, instead of six weeks. So the decision to give the second dose after three months is not a decision taken by the government. “The government will take necessary measures to import all doses required to vaccinate 14 million persons as soon as possible, then the Health authorities would be able to do the needful,” he added.

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