Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry on Saturday began administering the Sinopharm vaccine to local nationals, soon after the World Health Organization (WHO) approved it for emergency use worldwide.
The vaccines were administered at the Panadura Health Office in Kalutara District, in the outskirts of capital Colombo, an area which has reported a rising number of COVID-19 patients in recent days.
Speaking at the launch of the vaccination drive, State Minister of Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana thanked the Chinese government for sending the Sinopharm vaccines to Sri Lanka and said this would add to the efforts of the Sri Lankan government to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its population against the COVID-19 virus by the end of the year.
“Today is a very special day for the Panadura MoH office. We want to thank the Chinese government as well as the WHO for approving the Sinopharm under emergency use. Today we began administering the Sinopharm in the Panadura area and want to thank President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for approving to start this program from the Kalutara district,” Jayasumana said.
State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Sudharshani Fernandopulle, also said at the launch of the vaccination drive that with the WHO and the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approving the Sinopharm vaccine under emergency use in Sri Lanka, authorities will now look to get more vaccines from China to vaccinate the local population.
“Today we began administering the Sinopharm vaccine in the Panadura Health office for locals above the age of 30 years and below the age of 60 years. From tomorrow we will also identify the areas which have reported the highest number of COVID-19 patients in recent days and will begin to administer the Sinopharm vaccines in those areas as well,” Fernandopulle said.
She said some of the areas worst affected by the COVID-19 virus were Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Kurunegala, Kandy, and Matale, and authorities were making arrangements to vaccinate the people in these areas as soon as possible.
“The best way to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus is to vaccinate the people and this government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is aiming to vaccinate the population in Sri Lanka as soon as possible,” Fernandopulle said.
The Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Sri Lanka last month, under a special grant by the Chinese government to the Sri Lankan Health Ministry.
The residents of Panadura who lined up to receive the vaccine on Saturday thanked the Chinese government for sending the vaccines to Sri Lanka.
Following is an exclusive pictorial of the event.