By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Sri Lanka received another 26,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine yesterday (12), bringing the total number of Pfizer vaccine doses the country had to 52,000. Earlier this month, the country received its first consignment of the Pfizer jab. The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) said earlier that it was scheduled to receive a total 200,000 doses of the vaccine.
Also, another 60,000 doses of the United States produced coronavirus vaccine is expected to reach Sri Lanka during the third week of this month. Another 90,000 doses were slotted to reach the country in the last week of July. State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, Prof. Channa Jayasumana said that the doses would be deployed to Mannar to vaccinate those in coastal villages against Coronavirus.
Informed health sources in the Northern Province said the Pfizer jabs would be used on fishermen in Talaimannar as they were most vulnerable owing to their contact with Indian fishermen and the delta variant of the coronavirus which was first detected in that country. They noted that during the weekend (10 and 11 July) a total of 14,130 persons, from amongst the target population, had received the first vaccine dose. Vaccination was being performed in six centres of ten Grama Niladhari Divisions.
Sources said there were attempts by businessmen and various other groups to use influence to obtain the Pfizer vaccine. However, the Sri Lanka Army and the Air Force were providing security while ensuring that only the fishing community of the area was receiving the jab. Meanwhile, the vaccination of school teachers in the Western Province commenced yesterday (12). A total 1,446,973 had been administered with the second dose of the any one of the coronavirus vaccines by Sunday (11).