The Government of Japan, yesterday (13), decided to provide approximately 1.45 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured in Japan to Sri Lanka through the COVAX Facility to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka said. The vaccines are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka from Japan during the coming weeks.
This decision has been taken in response to the request by the Government of Sri Lanka and as a part of Japan’s support to ensure equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for as many people as possible in the fight against COVID-19, it said. In addition, as a part of the “last mile support,”the Government of Japan has been providing cold chain equipment through UNICEF, to establish a proper system of vaccination as well as to ensure equitable access to the vaccines for all people throughout the country, the Embassy said.
This includes cold storage boxes and vaccine carriers to store vaccines at the appropriate temperature and transport the vaccines to local vaccination centres. “As a time-honoured friend of Sri Lanka, the Japanese Government hopes to contribute, through this support, to the efforts of GoSL to further accelerate the vaccination programme and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka,” it said.
Japan has provided US$ 16.2 million to Sri Lanka to assist its efforts to combat COVID-19 and has also pledged US$ 1 billion to the COVAX facility to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines in developing countries. Japan will continue to stand in solidarity with Sri Lanka in this joint battle against COVID-19. Meanwhile, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi announced that Sri Lanka was scheduled to receive 1.5 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus jab from the United States on Friday (16).
The doses were being given under the COVAX facility of the World Health Organization (WHO). Wanniarachchi said of the 1.5 million doses, 750,000 were to be administered as the first dose, while the remaining 750,000 doses would be administered as the second dose to the public after a lapse of one month.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, by Monday (12), a total of 385,849 persons had received both doses of the OxfordAstraZeneca Covishield vaccine, while another 138,801 persons had been administered both doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, also 14,464 persons had received both doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been administered to 23,073 persons. (PA and DJ)