Mumbai: Consignment of Covishield vaccine leaves for Kathmandu on Thursday
Mumbai: Consignment of Covishield vaccine leaves for Kathmandu on Thursday

Colombo: The first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India (Covishield) is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka will be receiving 600,000 vials of doses with the first vaccine consignment, IANS reported.

This comes after an emergency use approval of COVISHIELD vaccines by Government of Sri Lanka.

Addressing an event on Saturday, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the Covid-19 jabs will be first administered to medical officers, Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) and other health sector workers who are on the front line of coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Tri-forces personnel who work closely with medical staff and people who are more vulnerable to the virus will be given the jabs subsequently, Rajapaksa added.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 vaccination trials got underway in Sri Lanka on Saturday, the Health Ministry said, in order to prepare for the vaccination drive once it arrives here next week.

Deputy Director-General of Health Services (DDGHS) Hemantha Herath said this trial will help health officials to get an idea as to how the vaccination should be administered and also identify the discrepancies and shortcomings in the process.

This will also give officials the idea to determine the number of vaccines that could be given to the recipients within an hour or a day, he added.

Sri Lanka has reported 56,863 coronavirus cases and 278 deaths.

India has so far gifted vaccines to seven countries in the region as part of its neighbourhood first policy. India has sent Bhutan 150,000 doses, 100,000 doses to Maldives, around 1 million doses to Nepal, around 2 million doses to Bangladesh, 1.5 million doses to Myanmar, 50,000 doses to Seychelles and 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were given to Mauritius.

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

India has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are being administered to frontline health workers across the country.

While Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.

The Ministry of External Affairs has said it will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad.

(With agencies)

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