Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will be continued by Sri Lanka: Govt spokesman

Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will be continued by Sri Lanka: Govt spokesman

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will continue to use the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines despite its suspension in some countries over reports that the doses were causing blood clot-related complications, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Some nations, mostly European, suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which also has a tie-up with the Serum Institute of India, after some reports of blood clotting.
Ramesh Pathirana, the Cabinet co-spokesman, said that the vaccine halted in certain European countries was limited to one batch of the vaccine and Sri Lanka had not received doses from the same batch.
"Those vaccines which are involved in that problem only belong to a certain batch in that vaccine are temporarily suspended in certain countries in Europe, that batch of vaccines was not given to Sri Lanka," he said.

He said that the public should remain calm and not fear such reports.

His comments come in the wake of several European countries — including Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway and Iceland — pausing the administration of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. Some Asian and African countries have expressed concern. Congo and Thailand have stopped the doses.

However, the UK and EU regulators and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have backed the usage of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs.

India gifted 500,000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines to Sri Lanka, which kicked off its vaccination programme in late January.

Health officials said some 7,84,500 people out of the 21 million population had already been given the first dose of the vaccine. Pathirana said under the World Health Organization's COVAX facility, the island would soon receive another batch of vaccines.

"We are arriving at a controlled situation due to the intervention of the health officials and security forces and due to the dedication of the people," he said.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 88,524 coronavirus cases with 534 deaths.

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