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Sri Lanka in talks with COVAX to purchase COVID-19 vaccines

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Sri Lanka is in discussions with COVAX, the global procurement facility for vaccines to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, local media quoting Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said here Thursday.

Wanniarachchi informed the parliament that Sri Lanka had already joined the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) and the government was making efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to 20 percent of Sri Lanka’s population initially, which amounts to 4.2 million citizens.

She said vaccines will be available as soon as they receive approval from international medical bodies including the World Health Organization.

The minister added that a national committee had been appointed to look into COVID-19 vaccines despite vaccines still being in trial stages with no fixed date for when they will be available to the public.

She added that three technical subcommittees will be focusing on matters like target groups for the vaccine, prioritization, cost and usage.

In terms of other measures implemented by the Sri Lankan government to contain the spread of COVID-19, Wanniarachchi said there are currently 34 PCR machines, 1,020 ventilators, and 704 ICU beds in the country’s state hospitals.

She went on to say that 25 PCR machines, 220 mobile ventilators, and 61 ICU beds were added to the state hospital system since the outbreak.

Sri Lanka has to date detected 21,469 COVID-19 patients and 96 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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