The second consignment of 500,000 Covishield vaccines was shipped to Sri Lanka on Thursday. The new batch was ordered under an agreement between the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) of Sri Lanka and the Serum Institute of India, Sri Lanka's acting health minister Channa Jayasumana informed.
The distribution of vaccines will start on Friday.
India gifted 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine which kicked off Sri Lanka’s vaccine rollout in late January. The vaccines were given to the frontline workers and the security personnel.
After receiving the second batch today, High Commission of India in Sri Lanka tweeted: "Actively aiding #lka win against COVID, 2nd consignment of 500,000 COVISHIELD vaccines arrived from #India to #lka today.
ශ්රී ලංකාවට කොවිඩ්-19 වසංගතය ජයගැනීමට ක්රියාකාරීව සහයෝගය දක්වමින් ඉන්දියාවේ සිට කොවිෂීල්ඩ් මාත්රා 500,000ක දෙවන තොගය අද දින ශ්රී ලංකාවට ළඟා විය. pic.twitter.com/HSg1L5eeuu
The Sri Lankan government has placed an order for 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India at a cost of $52.5 million. Meanwhile, another 3.5 million doses have been ordered from AstraZeneca Institute of UK under the COVAX programme.
The next batch of the Covishield vaccines would be shipped to Sri Lanka in March, health officials in Sri Lanka said.
Ramesh Pathirana, who is also the Minister of Plantations, earlier said Sri Lanka is likely to go only with the AstraZeneca vaccines for the second phase of vaccination as the Chinese and Russian vaccines are not ready yet.
Last month, India announced it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries - Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius.
India is one of the world's biggest drug-makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring coronavirus vaccines.
Sri Lanka has recorded more than 80,500 coronavirus cases so far with 450 deaths.
(With inputs from agencies)
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