Health Minister assures Sri Lankans will get WHO approved COVID vaccine


COLOMBO – Sri Lankans will get the vaccination against COVID-19 as soon as a World Health Organization-approved vaccine is made available, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament on Wednesday (25

She said her ministry has begun the process of implementing a vaccination program against the COVID-19 virus.

The minister said Sri Lanka has already entered the COVAX program and the GAVI vaccine alliance which are working for a vaccine for COVID-19 with the technical help of the WHO.

“In obtaining the vaccine, we should give attention to the fact that vaccine trials are in the third clinical stage and nobody knows when approval will be given to produce the vaccines,” she said.

She also added that when a vaccine is created, Sri Lanka will be able to obtain it for 20% of the population in the country in the first stage, which amounts to 4.2 million Sri Lankans.

Wanniarachchi said the health ministry has already put in place the operational structure to implement vaccination after a vaccine is released.

“We have established a National Coordinating Committee for the COVID-19 vaccine, under which 3 technical sub-committees have being appointed,” the minister said.

According to the minister, the three sub-committees will identify and prioritize target groups for vaccination, maintain the supply chain and manage cost and implementation.

Last week Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa urged the government to make arrangements to make COVID-19 vaccines from organizations such as Pfizer and Moderna available to Sri Lankans.

Responding to Premadsa, government Member of Parliament Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the government believes Sri Lanka does not need the vaccine at present and that it will be obtained if and when necessary.

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