65-70% SL population to be vaccinated soon – Dr. Ginige
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Having been among top ten countries in vaccination against COVID-19, Sri Lanka has been able to administer the first dose to 67.4 per cent of its total population by Sunday (17), Acting Director of Epidemiology Unit Dr. Samitha Ginige noted. Briefing the Media at the Health Promotion Bureau (HPB) yesterday (18), Dr. Ginige expressed confidence that at least 65 to 70 per cent of the island’s population would be vaccinated by the next two to three weeks, building up immunity against the infection.
Explaining further, he said vaccination indicators assessed how much of the total population have been vaccinated. “But it does not mean that practically the entire population could be given the jab. Even the most recent recommendations too were for the vaccine to be given to those above 16 years of age and those between 12-19 years of age with chronic illnesses,” Dr. Ginige observed. But as a standard, it had been accepted that the viral infection can be controlled at a reasonable level when more than 70 per cent of the total population of a country has been fully vaccinated.
As of now 58.3 per cent Sri Lankans have been administered both doses of the COVID vaccine. That would be close to 60 per cent of the total population who have been given both doses. He said that the National Vaccination Programme against COVID-19 would be able to cover at least 65 to 70 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population with both doses in two to three weeks if the programme continues its current pace.
The Acting Director of the Epidemiology said that by Sunday (17) at least 10,000 adolescents aged 18 and 19 in Colombo District sitting for their G.C.E. Advance Level and those who were repeating the exam had been given the jab. The vaccination for these two age groups would commence in schools in other parts of the country from Thursday (21), he said. Those who miss the vaccine from their schools due to unavoidable reasons can go to the nearest Medical Officer of Health (MOH) on Saturday (23) and get the vaccine at the MOH Central Clinic, Dr. Ginige added.