Three million doses to be delivered
All eligible persons to be given vaccines
WB, ADB help to procure jabs

Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the required number of COVID-19 vaccines for controlling the disease in Sri Lanka will be brought to Sri Lanka within the next two months.

Accordingly, three million doses are expected to be delivered to Sri Lanka soon and Kandy and Kurunegala districts will be given priority in providing the vaccines, he added.

He was speaking to the media after a special meeting held on controlling the spread of COVID-19 at the Kandy District Secretariat yesterday. He said the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is now chaired by Sri Lanka, have stated that they will intervene to provide vaccines tailored to Sri Lanka’s needs and strongly denied the allegations made by some parties that the Government did not have the required funds to obtain the vaccine.

He said that the Government has enough funds to purchase the vaccines and there is no need to pay in advance for them.

He said the relevant agencies have informed the health authorities that the vaccines will be delivered soon.

He said it has been decided to give this vaccine to about 7,000 national and provincial journalists all over the island. It is the intention of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to give the vaccine to all the eligible citizens. Schoolchildren and pregnant women are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine anywhere in the world.

The Minister said it was not the Government’s intention to lock down the entire country to control the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that isolation of individual areas and travel restrictions would be imposed as needed on the recommendations of the health sector.

The Minister said that no one from India will be allowed to enter the country illegally and that the Navy will conduct special operations to prevent maritime migration.

All arrivals by air from India have also been suspended, though transit passengers are exempt. There is no ban on departures to any city in India.

Sri Lanka is currently administering three brands of COVID-19 vaccine- the Oxford AstraZeneca/Covishield, the Sputnik V and the Sinopharm. An order has been placed for 13 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine from the Gamaleya Institute of Moscow. Five million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA-based vaccine too have also been ordered.

Kandy District MP Prof. Ranjith Bandara was present on the occasion.