Sri Lanka commenced public distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in late January. The first consignment that was donated from India arrived on 28 January, and the first phase of the rollout went to those working on the frontlines of pandemic control: healthcare workers and officers of the military and police.
Subsequently, inoculation of the public commenced for other residents of the Western Province. As of 12 March, Sri Lanka had vaccinated approximately 750,000 individuals with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Organised by the Ministry of Health and its zonal offices, the COVID-19 vaccination drives are currently underway in the Western Province. Here are some photographs from a vaccination drive in the Maradana area in Colombo.
To obtain the vaccine, you have to stand in a queue outside the designated vaccination centre. Only a select number of individuals will be allowed in at a time, in line with crowd control regulations issued by the Ministry of Health.
Once you enter the premises, you are made to fill in a document with personal information.
You will also have to provide information on existing medical complications and drug allergies you may have. Those who have such conditions will be referred to a doctor who will decide whether it is safe for them to receive the vaccine.
According to Public Health Inspector Krishantha Seneviratne who was at the centre we visited, individuals who are qualified to receive the vaccine must provide proof of residence at the centre. This could be in the form of a national identity card, utility bills, or a letter confirming residence from the Grama Sevaka officer. If one is unable to provide proof of residence, Seneviratne said, they will be turned away.
Seneviratne noted that any individual between the age of 30 and 100 could receive the vaccination at vaccination centres that have been set up in their respective areas of residence.
Once the documentation process is completed, you will be directed to a seat where a medical professional will administer the vaccine to you. According to Seneviratne, 10-11 shots can be distributed from a single vial of the vaccine.
As the final step, you will have to wait for approximately 20 minutes under the supervision of the medical officers, as a precaution against any allergic reactions that may arise.
After the vaccination, you will receive a card confirming that you have received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The card will also inform you when you must obtain the second dose.
Photo credit Roar Media/Nazly Ahmed