Sri Lanka is all set to finalise an agreement to secure COVID-19 vaccine via the United Nations-backed COVAX facility, which subsidises the shots for 92 low and middle income countries.
The COVAX or COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access programme is run by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers. Sri Lanka joined the COVAX facility last year and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has accredited the nation, making it eligible to receive the vaccines through the programme.
The Lanka Cabinet will sign part two of the COVAX agreement with the WHO this week, enabling the country to obtain a limited quantity of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of this year, according to an official statement.
The signing of the second part has to be done by January 8, it said. Eligible countries are required to submit request applications under two phases to receive the vaccine facility. The first part — which include information regarding the target group, storage capacity and technical information — was required to be submitted before December 7 and Lanka has done it on time, the statement said.
The Lankan government had earlier said that it would also opt for the coronavirus vaccine developed by Russia.
There has been a surge in COVID-19 infections in Lanka since early October. The number of deaths which stood at just 13 till October has now passed the 200-mark. The total cases exceed 45,240.