Administration of Pfizer suspended

Dr. Hemantha Herath

The administration of the Pfizer vaccine, which commenced on Wednesday (7) in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) limits to recipients of the first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine, was temporarily suspended.

This was after the Health Ministry was reassured that it is to receive more doses of AstraZeneca by the end of this month, Deputy Director General (DDG), Disaster Management and Emergency Response, Dr. Hemantha Herath said. Dr. Herath yesterday (8) confirmed that Sri Lanka is to receive 1.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by  about the third week of this month.

A total of 925,242 persons received the first dose of the AstraZeneca jab while to date only 384,374 persons have received the second dose of the same.

The National Immunisation Programme in collaboration with the armed forces engaged in the vaccination drive were able to administer 2,171 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Colombo City dwellers who had been given the AstraZeneca jab as their first dose, the Epidemiology Unit website revealed. Dr. Herath explained that the Director General Health Services would issue a circular and guidelines as to who should be administered the Pfizer vaccine.

It would be to those persons to whom it would be most beneficial and who were also at risk. He noted that it could also include students who were going for higher studies abroad which recognise only the Pfizer vaccine. He stressed the fact that Pfizer like all the other vaccines being administered in Sri Lanka was to be administered as two doses.

Meanwhile, Regional Epidemiologist CMC Dr. Dinuka Guruge, in a twitter message said that the CMC had been instructed to stop administering the Pfizer vaccine as a second dose and wait till the third week of this month for the AstraZeneca vaccine which would be given as the second dose.

The Pfizer vaccine was to be administered to those above 55 years of age in Colombo City who had been administered the Oxford- AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine as their first jab. State Minister for Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Control Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) a lapse of six months between the two doses was permissible.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Dilanthi Jayamanne)