President hopeful WHO DG will help
By Faadhila Thassim
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday (7) stated he believes Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, would make an effort to fulfil Sri Lanka’s need for 600,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine, in order to administer the second dose to the people.
The President on Friday held a virtual meeting with the WHO Director General. In his official twitter handle, the President said that at the meeting, it transpired that approval would be given for the emergency use of Sinopharm COVID-19 within the next two to three days. He added that with the approval, Sri Lanka will be able to start vaccinating the public with the current stock of 600,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses in hand. Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa instructed officials to expedite the process of obtaining COVID-19 vaccines and that of administering it to the public.
He stated that special attention should be given to the Western Province where there is a higher risk of the spread of COVID-19 adding that while the administering of the Sputnik Vaccine commenced on 6 May, health officials have received over 600,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China.
As over 55 million individuals from 51 countries have successfully received the Sinopharm vaccine, the President instructed officials to hold discussions with the health authorities of these countries to assess the possibilities of the expediting the administering of the Sinopharm vaccine in Sri Lanka. While the second dose of AstraZeneca is currently being administered, President Rajapaksa added discussions are being held to obtain more doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine.
Rajapaksa made these statements at the COVID-19 committee meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on the same day (7). Officials who attended the meeting stated that necessary measures including that of isolation orders in areas where COVID-19 patients have been identified have been taken to mitigate the spread adding that steps have also been taken tomaintain hospitals at the required level.