Co-Cabinet spokesman and Minister ofPlantation Ramesh Pathirana said the government “will immunize 14 million people and for which we need 28 million doses and the government is ready topurchase that.”In order to do that, the government plans to purchase 10 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines for $ 52.5 million as a direct procurement from the Serum Institute in India, said Pathirana.
He also said the government will enterinto an agreement with AstraZeneca Institute in Britain to buy 3.5 million of the same vaccine.
Oxford-Astra-Zeneca is the only vaccine approved bythe regulatory body in Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka began it's vaccination drive in January and initially, frontline health workers, military and police personnel were given the vaccine.
These days, vaccines are being given to the general public. Sri Lanka is currently using 500,000doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the neighboring India. By Tuesday, the vaccine had been given to 354,352 persons.
The government's announcement comes as the health officials are battling to control a spike of the COVID-19 patients mostly in the capital Colombo.
A fresh outbreak of the disease eruptedin last year’s October when two clusters one centered on a garment factory and another on the fish market emerged in the capital Colombo and it’s suburbs.
Withinfour months since then, Sri Lanka has reported more than 77,,000 new patients and 400 deaths.
Between 300 to 900 new cases are reported every day. The confirmed cases from twoclusters have grown into 76,918 on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka’s total number of positive cases since March reached 80,516 with 450 fatalities.