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Keheliya gives nod to GMOA proposal to inoculate children between 12 and 18 with Pfizer vaccine

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella had yesterday agreed to the GMOA proposal that children between the ages 12 and 18 should be vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, Dr. Senal Fernando, Secretary of the GMOA said.

Those between the ages of 18 and 30 could be vaccinated with Sinopharm or another vaccine, he said.

The GMOA also presented several studies on inoculating those between ages of 12 and 18 to the Health Minister during the meeting, Dr. Fernando said.

“We are to get four million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech. We can use this to fully vaccinate those between 12 and 18. We must appoint a technical committee to handle this. We also asked the Director General of the Health Services to stop using Pfizer-BioNtech to vaccinate those between the ages of 18 and 30 and to channel all the vaccines to inoculate those between 12 and 18,” he said.

Children should be vaccinated using MOH offices and children’s wards at various government hospitals that have trained staff on vaccinating children, Dr. Fernando said.

“We can reduce the number of deaths of children, reduce new cases and reopen schools that have been closed down for 18 months. When children are vaccinated, they can be sent to schools without fear and given that academic and non-academic staff too have been vaccinated, schools can start functioning,” he said.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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