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Sri Lanka to procure 2 to 3 million doses of anti-COVID vaccine from India: Official

India is one of the world's biggest drug makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines. In the last few days, India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles

January 27, 2021 / 02:52 PM IST
(Image: Reuters)

(Image: Reuters)

Sri Lanka will purchase 2 to 3 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from its Indian manufacturing company Serum Institute of India during the next two days, a top Sri Lankan official said here on Wednesday.

Lalith Weeratunga, the advisor to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that purchasing from India will follow Thursday’s arrival of India’s free vaccines to Sri Lanka.

He said the Indian Covishield vaccine is to arrive tomorrow and the consignment will be accepted by President Rajapaksa at the Colombo international airport.

A total of 250,000 people, mostly health frontline workers, members of the security forces and police and the vulnerable aged, will get the vaccine on a priority basis.

The vaccination programme for which dry runs were made over the weekend will commence on Friday.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Weeratunga added that 300,000 free vaccines from China are also due and the government would be requesting Russia also for the vaccine.

Follow our LIVE blog for latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic

Sri Lanka has recorded a near 60,000 cases till January 26, with 288 deaths from the pandemic since it was found in the island nation in mid March last year.

India is one of the world's biggest drug makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.

In the last few days, India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Jan 27, 2021 02:52 pm

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