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Children’s vaccination drive kicks off

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The government was planning to finish vaccinating children between 12 and 19 years of age by the end of October, Minister of Health, Keheliya Rambukwelle said yesterday at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital.

The vaccination drive kicked off with the inoculation of children over the age of 12 suffering from comorbidities at the Lady Ridgeway, Kurunegala and Anuradhapura Hospitals. A 14-year-old girl was the first to be vaccinated.

“We started this initiative after the Director General of Health Services issued guidelines. The first to be inoculated are the children with comorbidities. We are using the Pfizer vaccine. Kurunegala and Anuradhapura Hospitals were chosen because there are a large number of children with comorbidities in the two districts,” he said.

The Minister said that there were some discussions on the best vaccine to use among children between 12 and 15. Until that discussion is solved, those with comorbidities and those between 15 and 19 would be vaccinated, he said.

Meanwhile, Chair Professor of Paediatrics Shaman Rajindrajith of the Department of Paediatrics, University of Colombo, who was also present at LRH, urged parents to have their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

“There are very little side effects. However, if something happens a consultant paediatrician will be on call. The vaccination cards indicate a hotline and if there is any problem, parents can call us. On the first day of the vaccination (24) I will be the person answering the phone. So, don’t worry, we are ready for anything,” he said,

President of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that over 100 children had arrived at LRH. He said that there were between 30,000 and 50,000 children with comorbidities in the country.

“First we will vaccinate those with comorbidities, so that they can resume schooling. Then we will vaccinate those between 15 and 19 and then those between 12 and 15. We will get the consent of the parents and a medical specialist will check the child before vaccination,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director of the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital, Dr. G. Wijesuriya said that there were adequate vaccines available for all and that they would vaccinate everyone who turned up at the hospital. “There is no need to worry. We have enough vaccines. Parents can register their children through our website. They can reserve a time and get children vaccinated under specialist healthcare. We will use Pfizer and before vaccinating a specialist will check the child. If the child has high fever, diarrhoea or nausea, we will not vaccinate them,” he said.



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Keheliya, seven others further remanded till 28th June

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The Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today [14] ordered that former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and seven others be further remanded until June 28 by over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

 

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President launches Public Learning and Education Platform for Sri Lankan Youth

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially launched www.publiclearn.lk a new education platform aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s learning landscape at the Chamber Hall of the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday [13]

Public Learn is a platform that guides users to free courses from the world’s top universities. .

Emphasizing the importance of adapting to a knowledge-intensive society, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong educational results despite various systemic flaws. He noted that the new platform would enhance the education system’s effectiveness and stressed that Sri Lanka must swiftly advance in digitization to drive the new economic transformation.

President Wickremesinghe highlighted that the Public Learn platform serves as a crucial tool for enabling many Sri Lankans to advance personally and transform their nation. He reflected on Sri Lanka’s historical learning journey in three phases: first, during the era of Arahath Mahinda and the Pirivena system; second, with the introduction of the British public school system; and now, with the advent of digital education platforms like Public Learn, marking the third phase. He emphasized the importance of leveraging digital technology and knowledge to propel Sri Lanka forward in the digital economy, underscoring the need for continuous adaptation and innovation.

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Easter Sunday carnage: ‘Another probe nothing but an exercise in futility’

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Rev. Father Cyril Gamini

‘Implement PCoI recommendations at least now’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church yesterday (14) reiterated its longstanding demand that the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into 2019 Easter Sunday attacks be implemented.

Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said so when The Island sought the Catholic Church’s reaction to the appointment by President Ranil Wickremesinghe a new committee of inquiry to investigate the actions and responses of the country’s intelligence and security authorities following the intelligence warning received from India.

The committee is headed by retired Judge Ms. A. N. J. de Alwis. Rev. Fernando said that the government should implement the recommendations made by the PCoI headed by Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva. He said another inquiry would be nothing but an exercise in futility as the PCoI conducted an in-depth investigation into the Easter attacks, including the failure on the part of the intelligence apparatus to act on foreign intelligence as well neutralise the growing threat posed by extremist elements.

Rev. Fr. Fernando questioned the rationale behind re-examining the conduct of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) as the Supreme Court in January last year ordered Senior DIG Nilantha Jayewardena and retired DIG Sisira Mendis, who headed the SIS and functioned as CNI, respectively, to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 75 mn and Rs 10 mn.

“What is there to investigate again?” Rev Fernando asked, urging the government to go through the PCoI recommendations in respect of politicians and security officials.

In addition to the PCoI report, the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee and a Special Investigation Committee of three members appointed by the then President Maithriapla Sirisena probed the Easter carnage, Rev Fernando said, adding that if those in parliament were still interested in justice and fair play should look into that matter.

Rev. Fernando urged the government to examine how successive leaders had responded to PCoI findings. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee consisting of six MPs to look into the PCoI report and its findings soon after justice Janak de Silva handed over his report on Feb 1, 2021 it became clear that the powers that be would resort to old tactics. Nearly two years after President Rajapaksa’s ouster, the situation remained the same, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the Church wouldn’t give up its fight for justice.

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