COVID-19 third vaccine dose needed for a person to qualify as fully vaccinated - Minister Keheliya | Daily News

COVID-19 third vaccine dose needed for a person to qualify as fully vaccinated - Minister Keheliya

The third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is needed for a person to qualify as fully vaccinated, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

“Waning vaccine immunity and rising infections due to the Omicron variant has prompted Sri Lanka to reconsider the definition of “fully vaccinated” -- which usually means two COVID-19 jabs,” the Health Minister said.

Health Minister Rambukwella admitted as much on Monday, saying boosters were vital to prevent pandemic restrictions from being reintroduced. “It’s very clear that getting three jabs will become an important fact and it will make life easier for people in all sorts of ways,” he told a special discussion with the Heads of Electronic and Print Media at the Ministry.

He further said that January 29, 2022 marks the first anniversary since the commencement of the vaccination programme in the country and in line with this, the Ministry of Health has taken steps to implement a series of special programmes in all Hospitals/Regional Medical Officers’ Offices in the country.

Under this, the booster vaccination programme will be implemented as a special programme in those hospitals and Medical Officers’ of Health offices, and steps will be taken to provide all three vaccine doses to all vaccine eligible populations throughout the country.

In parallel to this programme, this vaccination programme will be implemented as a special programme at about 1,500 health centres islandwide, including hospitals and regional health offices and the year-round vaccination programme will be implemented in those locations. The programme is being implemented at all health centres with a focus on religious activities and is also planned to further promote the booster vaccination programme.

The Minister said that the necessary measures will be taken to make COVID-19 vaccination cards mandatory for people who enter public places after completion of the legal studies. “The relevant Gazette Notification is being prepared at present and a comprehensive study is being carried out on other matters,” the Minister said.

The Minister also pointed out that the code number and application processing will be done by the Ministry of Digital Technology and the vaccination card will be made mandatory when entering public places as soon as possible.

He said Sri Lanka was among the top five countries in the world where vaccination was most successful within a year and it was the responsibility of the people to obtain the booster vaccine to further protect and advance it.

The Minister said that if the country had to go in for a lockdown, the country would suffer an economic setback and there could be a major breakdown in that.

At present, the vaccination programme for schoolchildren is being implemented successfully and the second vaccination programme is being implemented for children between the ages of 15 and 19 who have completed three months for the first vaccination.

The Minister said that the number of daily infections in some of the richest countries is on the rise and that a number of measures have been taken under the guidance of the President to ensure a successful control of the pandemic. Accordingly, more than 51 million doses of the required vaccine have been imported for the three doses, he said.

The Minister said that some people were spreading false information and baseless allegations regarding the booster vaccine and that there was no truth in it.

The Minister said that the strong contribution made by the health sector in Sri Lanka, especially during the COVID pandemic, made it more effective in governing the country and appreciated the strong commitment made by the frontline activists in the field including the security forces and government officials.

Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Health Major General Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Government Information Mohan Samaranayake and Heads of Media Institutions participated on this occasion.


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