Over 10 million get first dose; WHO lauds Sri Lanka’s vaccination drive

Amid the continued threat posed by the Covid-19 Delta variant, over ten million people received the first dose of Covid vaccines in Sri Lanka, which received praise from the World Health Organization (WHO) for the national immunization drive

Aug 02, 2021
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Covid vaccines

Amid the continued threat posed by the Covid-19 Delta variant, over ten million people received the first dose of Covid vaccines in Sri Lanka, which received praise from the World Health Organization (WHO) for the national immunization drive. 

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has set a target of at least giving the first dose to all people above the age of 30 by August end. And there are around 11.5 million people in Sri Lanka above 30. Officials expect to remain 1.5 will get their first dose within this month. 

With a steady supply of vaccines, the vaccination pace has picked up pace lately, with over 400,000 people being jabbed on a daily basis. Provinces in the country’s northeast, dominated by the ethnic Tamil minority population, have been given importance in the drive.

“As we have accelerated the vaccination drive in the country, we are hopeful that the individuals between 18 and 30 years would also be vaccinated once the task set by the President is over,” Sri Lanka’s State Minister Channa Jayasumana, was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. 

Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the director-general of the WHO, said in a tweet “Glad to see that #SriLanka is on track to fully vaccinate 10% of its population ahead of the #VaccinEquity September target! Thanks to the Government and people of the Flag of Sri Lanka for their efforts, and continued vigilance on proven public health and social measures to suppress the virus.” 

Four million vaccines of Sinpharm are expected to arrive by the next week. Furthermore, the government has also reduced the duration for administering the second dose from earlier four weeks to three weeks now. 

However, despite the ramped-up vaccination campaign, the number of infections is rising in the country due to the prevalence of the Delta variant. In early July, the country was reported just a little over 500 cases per day and by the end of July, the numbers went to 2000 cases. The more concerning is that the death rate and hospitalization have also gone up. 

Restrictions, too, have been eased in several parts of the country in recent weeks despite the resurgence in cases. Public health officials warned that the country was going to face the worst outbreak in the coming weeks.

(SAM)

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