President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said that starting of COVID-19 vaccination drive in Sri Lanka was delayed due to the delay in getting Shinopharm vaccine approved by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA).
Addressing the nation, the President said due to the NMRA taking time to approve the vaccine, the vaccination programme was delayed by about a month.
The President said,
“Nevertheless, the Government took measures to administer Sinopharm vaccine continuously since May 8 this year. In addition, we have received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the United States, the AstraZeneca vaccines from Japan, and the Sputnik vaccines from Russia, placing us among the countries that administer the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccines to its people. As at the 19th of this month, a total of 12,019,193 vaccine doses have been administered as the First Dose.”
Speaking further he said that about 98 per cent of the people, who are above the age of 30, have been vaccinated while 43 per cent have been given the both doses. By 31 August, more than 81 per cent of the population will be able to receive the second dose. By 10 September, 100 per cent can receive both the doses, he said.
He also said that since the accepted opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of medical experts and according to the global standardized methodology is that the vaccination is the only solution for the COVID-19 pandemic, he personally involved in bringing the vaccines to the country, through diplomatic relations with other countries.