A decision on the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for persons awaiting the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be made following recommendations of a specialist committee next week.
According to Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena, the committee of specialists on vaccines is due to meet next week to discuss the matter.
“Thereafter, we can decide if the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to persons who require the second dose,” Dr. Gunawardena said.
“A discussion was held some days ago on the possibility of administering the Pfizer vaccine for persons who are awaiting the second dose of AstraZeneca,” he added.
On Wednesday, Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana said 78,000 doses of Pfizer are due to arrive in the country next month, in addition to 264,000 doses of AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility.
Sri Lanka will still need at least 200,000 doses to meet the vaccine shortage for the AstraZeneca second dose. However, Prof. Jayasumana has also stated that Sri Lanka is due to receive Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses from the US, which can also be considered for use in place of the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
At present, the first dose of AstraZeneca has been administered to 925,242 persons but only 372,719 persons have received the second dose. This includes 44 persons who received the second dose of AstraZeneca on Wednesday.
The Epidemiology Unit states that 22,055 persons were vaccinated through the country’s COVID-19 immunisation program on Wednesday.
Among persons vaccinated are 13,131 persons who received the first dose of Sinopharm and 8,880 persons who received the second dose of Sinopharm. In total, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to 1,461,732 persons and the second dose to 479,750 persons.
In addition to this, 113,454 persons have received the first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine and 14,323 persons have received the second dose of the vaccine.
In total, 2,500,428 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 866,792 persons have received the second dose.