Sri Lanka Government sends purchase order for 18 Million COVID vaccine doses

AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19

The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) yesterday sent a purchase order for 18 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine from India as part of Government arrangements to immunise persons between the ages 30 and 60, top officials said.

State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation Prof. Channa Jayasumana said the purchase order was sent by the SPC. These vaccines are expected to immunise persons between ages 30 and 60 alongside the vaccination of persons over the age of 60.

Immunisation is expected to begin during the end of February or the first week of March and the total cost for vaccination is estimated to be Rs. 10 billion, with a single dose priced at $ 3, State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle yesterday said.

Dr. Fernandopulle explained that the reason behind vaccinating persons between ages 30 and 60 was due to the fact that the majority of COVID-19 patients in the country were within this age group with only 10% of patients belonging to the over 60 age group.

“Under the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, we are to receive 8.4 million doses for 4.2 million of the population. There are 9 million persons between the ages 30 and 60. As such, we have to bring down 18 million doses and the Government is already making preparations to purchase these vaccines,” the State Minister said.

While the first COVAX supplies are expected to begin later this month, manufacturing constraints will impose severe limitations on the quantity that will be issued through the facility that is working towards global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka is currently carrying out its first vaccination campaign targeting 250,000 frontline workers with 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine received as a donation from the Government of India.

(Source: Daily FT)