Sri Lanka to receive AstraZeneca doses as scheduled

COLOMBO, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government on Thursday said the country will receive AstraZeneca vaccine doses from India as scheduled despite the temporary halt imposed by India on the vaccine export.

File photo: AFP

Minister for Pharmaceutical Production and Regulation Channa Jayasumana said Sri Lanka had already placed the order to purchase the required amount of vaccines from the Serum Institute in India and these doses would be delivered as scheduled.

Sri Lanka has placed an order for over 1 million doses from the Serum Institute, the minister said.

The minister further said Sri Lanka had a sufficient stock of AstraZeneca vaccines for the second rollout, and urged people not to panic over the export suspension announced by India.

He said Sri Lanka had received over 1.2 million doses of the vaccine.

Sri Lanka's health authorities, on March 17 said that over 800,000 local citizens in the island's main Western Province had received the AstraZeneca vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus as a mass scale inoculation program was underway since early February after vaccinating front line workers and health workers with the AstraZeneca doses.

The people who received the first jabs would start receiving the second doses from April 10, and the country will have sufficient stocks till May, said the minister.

Initially 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived from India in late January and a further 500,000 doses arrived in February.

Sri Lanka received 264,000 doses of the AstraZeneca this month under the WHO's COVAX facility which is being administered to those above 60.