Gift consignment of COVISHIELD vaccines to arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday
COLOMBO – Half million (500,000) doses of COVISHIELD vaccine, gifted by the Government of India under its #VaccineMaitri project will arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday (28), via a special Air India flight.
The consignment, packed in tailor-made boxes, will be ceremonially handed over by Indian High Commissioner, Gopal Baglay, at the Bandaranaiake International Airport, the High Commission said in a statement on Wednesday (27).
It said the High Commissioner will pray at the Gangaramaya Temple for the health and well being of the people of Sri Lanka on Thursday, noting the arrival of the consignment of COVISHIELD on Duruthu Poya Day to be a remarkable coincidence, as he had first arrived in Sri Lanka to take up his assignment in the Vesak Week in May 2020 with 12.5 tons of medical supplies gifted by India to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It also said Baglay will seek the blessings of Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thera, and as per the Buddhist traditions in India and Sri Lanka, offer meals to devotees at the Temple.
The Oxford-Astrazeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, has been approved for emergency use by Government of Sri Lanka. The gift of the vaccine consignment, the statement said, was in line with India’s continued support to Sri Lanka in fighting the COVID pandemic.
Earlier, the country had donated four consignments of medical supplies weighing around 25 tonnes, and also organized online experience-sharing programs for Sri Lankan medical professionals.
The statement noted that the two partners have also put up a joint front in the COVID-19 battle, with India and Sri Lanka being the largest contributors to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC. Prime Minister Modi had complimented Sri Lanka’s leadership on containing the pandemic, it added.
Guided by ‘Neighbourhood First’ and SAGAR policies, about five million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been gifted to neighbouring countries and those in the Gulf and Indian Ocean by the Government of India since January 20, 2021. Millions of doses of the Indian COVID vaccines have also been exported to countries as far away as Latin America and West Asia, and will continue to reach those in the Caribbean and the Pacific in due course.
In September 2020, Modi told the UN that India’s vaccine capacity will be used to help all humanity fight the COVID pandemic, the statement pointed out, adding that the country, called the ‘Pharmacy of the World’, had supplied essential medicines to fight COVID-19 to 150 countries, more than half of them as gifts.