Lanka prez Rajapaksa speaks to WHO chief; expresses hope of meeting vaccine shortfall

Lanka prez Rajapaksa speaks to WHO chief; expresses hope of meeting vaccine shortfall

Colombo, May 7 (PTI) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday had a virtual meeting with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and expressed hope that the world health body would help Sri Lanka fulfil the shortfall of 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine required for the second doses in the country.

Rajapaksa, in a message, said that he had a fruitful virtual meeting with Ghebreyesus during which he stressed on the shortfall of 600,000 doses of the vaccine in the country.

“I believe he will make an effort to fulfil Sri Lanka”s need for 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca for the second dose of vaccination,” Rajapaksa said.

Sri Lanka had originally rolled out its vaccination programme at the end of January with the free gift from India of 500,000 AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Sri Lanka in February received 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines ordered from India under an agreement between the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) of Sri Lanka and the Serum Institute of India.

However, delays by the SII to supply Sri Lanka’s next order has caused problems for the second dose which needs to be made available by the mid of this month.

Rajapaksa said that the WHO was due to approve China”s Sinopharm for emergency use very soon.

Sri Lanka has 600,000 doses of Sinopharm in hand. The Chinese vaccine had been used for nearly 3,000 Chinese workers employed here.

Sri Lanka on Thursday rolled out the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

By Friday morning, the country had vaccinated 928,776 of its 21 million population. Some 177,235 second inoculations have been made, the health ministry’s epidemiology unit said.

The minister for COVID prevention Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle said the local National Medicine Regulation Authority (NMRA) had endorsed Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and the process to order them is underway.

Sri Lanka has been experiencing a massive surge in new infections since 2 weeks.

The total number of COVID infections in the country by Friday morning was 119,424. The total number of deaths stands at 745.

The country had reported 108,146 new cases and 678 deaths on April 30.

The government”s decision not to enforce lockdowns and only isolating the vulnerable areas has come under criticism. The government defended the decision claiming that it wanted to avoid adverse economic impact from lockdowns. PTI Corr RS AKJ RS

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Bollyinsidestaff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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