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Sri Lanka halts Covid inoculations due to delay in supply of shots from Serum Institute: Report

FILE PHOTO: A health official draws a dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, at Infectious Diseases Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo (REUTERS)Premium
FILE PHOTO: A health official draws a dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, at Infectious Diseases Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo (REUTERS)

  • The programme was halted on Wednesday night as the remaining anti-Covid jabs are required for the second dose
  • The Covid-19 vaccine shipment to Canada from Serum Institute to have also been put on hold for an indefinite period

Sri Lanka has temporarily suspended its Covid-19 vaccination programme due to a delay in securing more AstraZeneca shots from the Serum Institute of India, a health minister from the country was quoted as saying by PTI.

Till Thursday 913,219 people out of the island nation's 21 million population had been vaccinated.

Also Read | Why Kerala may not swing this time round

The programme was halted on Wednesday night as the remaining anti-Covid jabs are required for the second dose of those who have been vaccinated, including healthcare workers, said Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle.

Fernandopulle said that Sri Lanka was not able to gain any assurances on the arrival of the next consignment from India in time.

The second dose in Sri Lanka was to be administered from 19 April.

The WHO has recommended that the second jab must be made available within 12 weeks of the first.

The country had launched its inoculation drive in late January when it received 5,00,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines as a gift from India. Afterwards, it placed an order for more doses of the Indian-made vaccine.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) recently suspended exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine to meet the domestic demands.

Shipments to Canada on hold

The Covid-19 vaccine shipment to Canada from Serum Institute to have also been put on hold for an indefinite period as India is focussing on meeting the needs at home, reported news agency ANI.

"We are working with the company on determining when the doses will arrive. We are expecting a delay in the shipment," said Joelle Paquette, the director-general of Procurement Support Services Sector in Canada on Thursday.

"We do not have the information [about] when we're going to get the doses," she added.

Paquette, however, noted that Canada received assurances from the Serum Institute that they are committed to meeting their contractual obligations.

As per the terms of a contract signed in February, Canada is set to receive an additional 1.5 million vaccine doses from the company by mid-May, in addition to the 5,00,000 doses received last month as reported by Sputnik.

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