President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that only vaccination is the final solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the government has a strong programme is place to vaccinate the people of the country.
He stated that in order to overcome this challenge successfully, people must strictly follow all the rules, regulations and instructions recommended by the health authorities, similar to during the first wave of the pandemic.
He stated that the government has made arrangements to import four of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and to be approved in the near future.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was the first to be brough to the country, has presently been administered to 925,242 persons while the second dose of this vaccine is scheduled to be provided starting from the first week of May.
The second dose will be administered to 356,000 persons including frontline health workers, tri-forces personnel and police officers engaged in COVID-19 control tasks.
The government is currently in talks with other AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturers in the world to meet the remaining demand, President Rajapaksa was quoted as saying by the PMD.
He stated that 200,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V jab are expected to reach the island by the end of April while 400,000 more doses are expected in May. Another 800,000 doses will be brought down in June while 1.2 million doses are expected in July.
He stated that Cabinet approval has already been granted obtain 13 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
The President says that the 600,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine gifted by China will be provided to the general public within the coming weeks after the World Health Organisation (WHO) grants approval.
In addition to this the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) has already signed the preliminary agreement required to obtain the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine while the government is working to bring in this vaccine as soon as possible, the statement said.
The WHO chief has once again emphasized in Geneva yesterday (24) that the adherence to basic public health guidelines is the backbone of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Proper use of facemasks, regularly washing hands using soap or disinfectant, maintaining social distancing, avoiding unnecessary travel and public gatherings are the main ones among them.
The experience of countries that have made progress is controlling the virus is that following health advice and disciplined social behavior is a successful solution to stop the spread of the virus, the President says.
“Some think the country should be shut down for some time as a solution to the COVID-19 threat. Although such action had satisfactory results in the initial stage, in the long run it will have a very detrimental effect on the lives of the people and the economy.”
President Rajapaksa says that developing countries such as Sri Lanka cannot impose lockdowns or curfews that completely paralyze economic activities. The majority of the country’s income earners depend on informal livelihoods, he said.
Therefore, while the government is doing its duty, the people should fulfill their responsibility and duty for the welfare of the country and themselves, the President emphasized.