A charter flight carrying 1 million doses of the China-made jab has touched down at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake early this morning.
The government of China delivered the vaccine consignment to Sri Lanka as a part of the purchase order placed by the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to boost the country’s inoculation drive.
Sri Lanka ramped up coronavirus vaccinations upon the receipt of 2 million more Sinopharm shots in early July. This enabled the extension of national inoculation drive to 12 more districts and the administration of Sinopharm vaccine’s second dose.
According to the Epidemiology Unit’s progress report on COVID-19 immunization, as many as 1,849,565 people have received the first dose of Sinopharm vaccine while 750,572 were fully vaccinated with the China-made jab.
Sri Lanka has received a total of 4.1 million Sinopharm vaccines so far since the arrival of the first batch of 600,000 doses in late March this year.
The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approved the emergency use of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in the country on March 20. Sri Lanka then received a donation of 500,000 doses of the China-manufactured vaccine on May 26.
Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine, also known as BBIBP-CorV, is produced by China National Biotec Group (CNBG) – a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (SINOPHARM).
Speaking further, Prof. Jayasumana revealed that the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on Monday (July 04).
In late June, the Health Ministry’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases gave the nod to administer the USA-developed Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as the second dose for those who received a shot of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
A recent UK vaccine study – Com-Cov trial – has found that a mix-and-match approach to COVID vaccines (using different brands of jab for first and second doses) gives good protection against the pandemic virus. It looked at the efficacy of either two doses of Pfizer, two of AstraZeneca, or one of them followed by the other.
Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during a televised address on June 25, stated that the government aims to vaccinate 13 million of the country’s population against the novel coronavirus by the end of September.