Lanka may junk Sinopharm, orders 13.5 Mn vax from India

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Sri Lanka has ordered 13.5 million Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines in addition to the 500,000 doses gifted by India, and the country may not use Chinese vaccines in the second phase of immunisation, a government spokesman has said.

Ramesh Pathirana, who is also the Minister of Plantations, said Sri Lanka is likely to go only with the AstraZeneca vaccines for the second phase of vaccination as the Chinese and Russian vaccines are not ready yet.

“The Chinese vaccine has not submitted the papers relating to phase three trials, said Pathirana.

For the first round of vaccinations, the government has placed an order for 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India at a cost of $52.5 million and a further 3.5 million doses directly from AstraZeneca Institute of UK under the Covax programme, the spokesman said.

India gifted 500,000 doses of the same vaccine which kicked off Sri Lanka’s vaccine rollout in late January.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked India last month for its generosity after he received 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine donated by the country under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

The government will be directed by the best medical advice on when the second dose should be given, Pathirana said, adding that although initially it was believed that the booster jab should be given after four weeks.

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