Sri Lanka began distribution of two COVID-19 vaccines — the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm and the Russian Sputnik V — at the beginning of this month, after running out of stocks of the Indian-manufactured ‘Covishield’ AstraZeneca vaccine in April. Although orders for more doses had been placed ahead of time, the Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine, has been unable to deliver due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in that country.
According to State Minister of COVID-19 Disease Control, Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Sri Lanka is currently in need of about 600,000 more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, in order to ensure that all those who received a first dose earlier this year also receive a second. The government is currently in talks with other nations and private companies to secure the required doses.
In the meantime, the government has procured 15,000 doses of the Sputnik V and 600,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccines from Russia and China respectively, and are currently administering these to the target population of those over 30 years of age. As of 18 May, 457,840 Sri Lankans had received the Sinopharm jab (first dose) while 14,917 had received the Sputnik V (first dose). Among those who received the Sinopharm jab are Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka engaged in developmental work, such as in construction.
The vaccination programmes are carried out by Municipal or Urban Councils, currently only in the Western Province. Vaccines are administered at a number of identified locations on a walk-in and eChannelling basis.
If you are unsure about where your closest vaccination centre is, you should contact the Public Health Inspector in your area.
Cover credit: Roar Media/Nazly Ahmed