- Vaccination to begin tomorrow itself
- No compulsion to get the dose
The first consignment of COVID – 19 control vaccines donated by the Government of India was officially handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (28) at the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay.
The stock was donated to Sri Lanka following a request made by the President to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
Developed by the Oxford University in the UK, the AstraZeneca COVISHELD vaccine was manufactured at Serum Institute in Mumbai.
Carrying 500,000 vials, Indian Airline Flight AI281 landed at BIA at 11.45 am this morning.
The weight of the vaccines stored in the aircraft’s special cold storage is 1323 kg. The stock of vaccines is planned to be stored in the cold storage of the airport premises and distributed in refrigerated vehicles covering 25 districts. Vaccines are stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius.
Vaccination will commence at 06 main hospitals in the Western Province tomorrow (29). Around 150,000 health workers, 120,000 members of Tri-Forces, Police and security forces who are at the frontline of COVID prevention operations will be given first priority.
Responding to the request by the President, the Government of China too will donate around 300,000 vials of the vaccine, Principal Advisor to the President and the Chief of the Presidential Task Force on the Procurement of COVID Vaccine Lalith Weeratunga said. Whether to get vaccinated or not is an independent decision of individuals. Mr. Weeratunga says that those who dislike it can restrain from taking the dose.
Marking today’s donation of the vaccines the Indian High Commissioner presented a memento to the President.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, State Ministers Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Channa Jayasumana, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, Commander of Sri Lanka Army and Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, Deputy Indian High Commissioner Vinod Jacob, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority Major Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, Ministry Secretaries and heads of the health sector were also present on the occasion.