Dr. Herath urges parents to wait till hospitals call
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Deputy Director General Disaster Management and Emergency Response, Dr. Hemantha Herath urged parents to wait till the relevant hospitals in their area informs them to take their children for the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Herath responding to a question as to whether the paediatric vaccination programme initiated in the Western Province from yesterday (27) said that although he is still unsure about a set date it was advisable for parents to wait till they receive official information from the hospital to take their children for the vaccine rather than rushing to the place just because they heard that the vaccine was being given somewhere.
If not, there would be unpleasant issues like the one which occurred outside the Army Hospital on Sunday (26) where parents and hospital staff would have to be involved in an unpleasant exchange of words, he advised.
The vaccine would be administered from base hospitals upwards, he noted pointing out that all hospitals with blood banks would be able to facilitate the cold chain required by Pfizer-BioNTech. Secretary of the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, (SLCP) Dr. Channa de Silva, when contacted said that although he was unable to give an exact date adding that the plan was to expand the vaccination of children with chronic diseases in the entire Western Province from yesterday in addition to the vaccination taking place at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for children and the Kurunegala and Anuradhapura Teaching Hospitals.
He noted that on Friday (24) a total of 180 children with chronic diseases had been given the Pfizer jab while on Saturday (25) there had been over 100 inoculations. Also, children who received the jab had been given a hotline with which thier parents could seek advice and make queries with regard to side-effects. A majority who called said their child had developed a fever.
There were no serious cases which came up, he said. Dr. De Silva noted the jab would be administered to children in all healthcare institutions and aforementioned Base Hospitals which have a Paediatric Specialist. The SLCP Secretary further noted that although the Pfizer vaccine was currently stored at the National Blood Centre to maintain its cold chain, hospitals islandwide under the Health Ministry would be able provide the necessary minus temperature required at their blood banks.