Sri Lanka receives first COVID-19 vaccines shipment from COVAX

08:28 PM | 7 Mar, 2021
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COLOMBO – A plane carrying the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines through the international COVAX facility ran by the World Health Organization (WHO) has landed in Sri Lanka, the UN body said on Sunday.

"Arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility in Sri Lanka marks another step in our goal to ensure equitable and fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally," WHO said in a statement.

Earlier, the South Asian island country received 264,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India. By May, Sri Lanka is expected to receive 1,440,000 doses.

"The additional doses to cover 20% of Sri Lanka's population will arrive in the second half of 2021. All these doses are donor-funded and provided at no cost to Sri Lanka," WHO added.

Sri Lanka had rolled out its mass vaccination campaign in January after it received the first 500,000 doses of the Covieshield vaccine, India's version of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine from New Delhi. The vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen and AstraZeneca have also been approved by the island nation's authorities.

Sri Lanka, became the 43rd country to approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, earlier this week.

To date, Sri Lanka has confirmed more than 85,000 cases of the virus, including 494 fatalities.

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