Japanese Vaccine Doses Arrive
Sri Lanka on Saturday (31 July received the first delivery over 728,000 doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccines out of over 1.4 million doses from Japan. These jabs were pledged free via the COVAX facility, the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka said.
This is the third COVAX allocation to Sri Lanka, all being entirely donor-funded, with no cost to the country, it said. The first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility was 264,000 doses of AstraZeneca in March, followed by 1.5 million Moderna vaccines donated by the U.S.A.earlier last month. COVAX is co-led by the WHO; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with UNICEF leading on logistics.
COVAX receives bilateral contributions from donors who have been consistent supporters of the UN and the Facility also has alliances with multilateral institutions and foundations such as the IMF, World Bank, ADB, civil society manufacturers and other stakeholders. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said, “This would not be possible without substantial support from the Japanese Government.”
Japan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Sugiyama Akira said, “As a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka, it is our honour to provide through COVAX 1.45 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in Japan to further bolster the vaccination programme in Sri Lanka to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all people in need countrywide.
Japan has also provided US$16.2 million to Sri Lanka to assist its combat against COVID-19, including improving its cold chain system. Globally, Japan has pledged $ one billion to the COVAX facility to accelerate vaccination in developing countries. Japan will continue to stand in solidarity with Sri Lanka in our fight against this global pandemic.” (PA)