AstraZeneca 2nd dose to be given from April 23rd

2021-04-08 at 15:10

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi says the second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVIShield vaccine will be administered to those who received the first dose from the 23rd of April till the 6th of July.

When inquired over the vaccination programme by the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa under Standing Orders in Parliament, Minister Wanniarachchi said those who received the first dose from the 29th of January till the 6th of April will be administered the second dose methodically, according to the relevant time period, from the 23rd of April.

The Health Minister said the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health has 356,730 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses to administer the second dose adding that 924,687 persons need to receive the second dose and therefore nearly 568,000 more jabs are needed.

She stressed the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation is working together with relevant units in this regard.

Minister Wanniarachchi noted accordingly the government believes the required stocks of vaccines will arrive in the country over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile the Opposition Leader also questioned why the government is not taking steps to import globally recognized Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines and why it had instead taken steps to import the Sinopharm vaccine manufactured in China, that failed to provide data on third stage clinical trials.

In response the Health Minister said discussions are underway with Pfizer to obtain vaccines, adding that the government hopes to obtain seven million doses through an agreement with Pfizer.

She added Pfizer will take steps to provide the jabs in the coming year.

Minister Wanniarachchi noted discussions have also been held with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson companies through the US Embassy.

She said the government is prepared to enter an agreement and register the relevant vaccines when the two companies are able to provide the jabs.

She stressed the Sinopharm vaccine was a donation to the government and no measures have been taken to purchase the vaccine.