Over half of Sri Lankans jabbed with both doses | Daily News

Over half of Sri Lankans jabbed with both doses

Sri Lanka reaches important milestone - WHO
Surpasses WHO targets
25 million doses administered

The total number of fully vaccinated persons against COVID in Sri Lanka crossed the 11 million mark on Saturday (18). As per the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit statistics, Sri Lanka has administered a total number of 24,803,998 doses of COVID vaccines by yesterday (19).

Accordingly, a total of 13,749,897 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 11,054,101 people have completed the full vaccination.

Issuing a media release on Saturday (18), the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Sri Lanka has reached an important milestone with 50 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.

“Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate has been the chant for the pandemic response. This is based on the science of vaccines and global evidence that COVID-19 vaccines can protect against severe disease as well as limit the transmission of the virus,” the WHO release said.

The WHO media release said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ambitious vaccination effort that spearheads Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response has long surpassed WHO’s targets. It is also likely to surpass its own target of vaccinating 60 per cent of the population by December 31, 2021.

The WHO has called for all countries to vaccinate 10 percent of their population by the end of September and 40 percent by the end of the year.

The first dose of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine has been given to 1,446,704 individuals and the second dose of the same vaccine has been given to 991,601 persons.

The first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine has been given to 10,909,974 people and the second dose has been administered to 9,016,530 individuals.

A total of 159,089 individuals have received the first dose of the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine and the second dose has been administered to 43,450 persons. The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been given to 452,845 persons the second dose has been given to 243,775 individuals and 781,285 individuals have received the first dose of Moderna vaccine and the second dose has been given to a total of 758,742.

In the context of supply constraints, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) recommends prioritizing vaccinations for health care and frontline workers, the elderly (60 and over) and those with co-morbidities.

For this, the WHO leads the COVAX Facility for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Through its Advance Market Commitment (AMC) mechanism, COVAX supports 92 low- and middle-income economies, including Sri Lanka, to access donor-funded vaccines specifically for SAGE recommended priority groups. COVAX also has a cost-sharing mechanism for countries to access additional doses.

At the centre of Sri Lanka’s success is Sri Lanka’s strong primary health care foundation. This has been adapted quickly for COVID-19 vaccine readiness in a whole of Government and whole of society approach. Vaccine deployment was initiated with coverage of frontline workers and then expanded progressively to all over 60 and, now, over 30 years of age. Further, given vaccine supplies, the expansion of coverage was managed strategically starting with the high-risk geographical area of the Western province and subsequent roll-out to other regions. In the context of the predominance of the Delta variant, nationwide coverage with increasing eligibility will reduce transmissions and severe infections.

Importantly, the evidence so far indicates that all WHO-approved vaccines protect against COVID-19 variants. Further, there is no evidence at this point that booster jabs are needed with both doses of WHO-approved vaccines. Hence, the WHO has called for a moratorium on booster doses for the time being.


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