Sri Lanka will receive two million doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in June, with 400,000 more doses of the Russian Sputnik V expected next month, officials said.
The Sinopharm manufacturer in China has agreed to send a million doses on June 6 followed by another million three days later, State Minister Channa Jayasumana said in an interview by the government information department on June 2.
Sri Lanka has received 1.1 million doses of Sinopharm so far as donations from the Chinese government.
Sri Lanka has made agreements to purchase 13 million doses of the Chinese vaccine by end 2021, the minister said.
The first dose of Sinopharm has been administered to 797,205 Sri Lankans as of June 1, official data shows.
Sri Lanka has also received 65,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine so far and, according to Jayasumana, authorities are expecting a reply from Russia regarding the next consignment by June 3.
Sri Lanka expects to purchase 14 million doses of the Russian vaccine as well by end 2021. Health authorities have administrated first dose to 44,189 as of June 1.
The US-based Pfizer Inc too have agreed to provide five million doses of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine this year, with a consignment of 300,000 to 400,000 expected to arrive in July, he said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved the other China-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine Sinovac for emergency use on June 1. Following the announcement, Jayasumana said, Sri Lanka can expect Sinovac to be administered in Sri Lanka as well over in a few weeks’ time.
Sri Lanka has come to an agreement with the manufacturer and is also considering producing the vaccine in the country, he said.
Sri Lanka is also looking to purchase the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and discussions have been held with the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in this regard, the minister said.
According to Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, the J&J vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. This means it uses a virus – in this case, a version of an adenoviruses – which causes mild cold or flu symptoms in people. The company has modified this virus to include DNA that codes for the spike protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This spike protein is one of the virus’ identifying features for immune cells, and what the virus uses to weasel its way into our cells.
The adenovirus works its way into cells like a virus normally would, but then injects the genetic material for the spike protein instead. Cells read that DNA to make copies of the spike protein, which then trigger an immune reaction.
In a trial with 43,783 participants across the US, Latin America, and South Africa, the vaccine prevented about 66% of Covid-19 cases. The company found evidence of some immunity in participants two weeks after they got the shot, which appeared to strengthen over time. It also protected against 85% of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 cases – the kinds that would lead someone to seek medical attention – and has so far presented complete protection from death due to COVID-19, international reports noted.
The US government has already ordered 100 million doses of Janssen’s vaccine, the reports said.
Jayasumana said vaccine producers have only agreed to deal with state regulatory bodies and will not come into any agreement with the private sector entities.
“No one can purchase the vaccine from anywhere. Only the State Pharmaceutical Corporation in Sri Lanka has the authority to deal with vaccine manufacturers,” he said, in response to allegations that several requests by the private sector to import vaccines have been turned down.
However, the minister said, the SPC has held discussions with several organisations who presented themselves as vaccine providers.
“Some of these companies were container operation businesses, or were in the logistics business or some other business. They have been producing the vaccine for the black market,” said Jayasumana.
“They were not even able to provide the vaccine’s details,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is still on the lookout for some 600,000 more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered as the second dose.
However, with the Covid 19 cases rising in India, Indian government imposed restrictions on the Serum Institute of India (SII) on exporting vaccines.
“We were in an agreement with SII and they said they will provide the vaccines on specific days,” said Jayasumana.
“However, with the condition worsening in India we decided to take a precautionary step and stop giving the first dose after giving it to 925,242,” he added.
Report on child protection delivered to President
The Committee appointed to Study and Make Recommendations for the Protection of Children handed over their comprehensive report to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday (03) evening.
This committee was established on April 19, 2023, to study and provide recommendations for the protection, care and overall welfare of children who have been subjected to various forms of violence within Sri Lanka.
Over the course of nearly five months, the committee conducted 21 meetings to gain an in-depth understanding of the existing issues and to formulate practical recommendations. The committee comprised a diverse group of members, including representatives from institutions such as Children Homes, Remand Homes, Certified Homes, Child Development Centres, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions & Associations, Principals of Schools, Civil Society Organizations, Telecommunication and Digital Service Providers, Telecommunication Regulators, Digital Crime Security Experts, Lions Club, Rotaract Club, representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Colleges of Medicine, Solicitors General from the Attorney General’s Department, National Child Protection Authority, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, Family Health Bureau, Foreign Employment Bureau, Sri Lanka Women’s’ Bureau and officials from the Ministries in charge of Women & Children and Education.
The report, which was completed and submitted to the President yesterday, addresses a wide range of issues concerning child protection, including issues related to institutionalized environments, lack of parental care, family separation, digital media exposure, child labour and more. The committee also evaluated the adequacy of existing institutional, administrative and legal safeguards for child protection, aiming to meet the demands of modern society.
Furthermore, the report explores strategies to enhance the physical and mental health of children who have experienced various forms of violence, abuse and neglect. It also delves into the concerning trend of children engaging in violent acts and seeks innovative approaches for community participation in child care initiatives
Landslide Early Warnings Issued to Colombo, Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura Districts extended
The landslide early warnings issued by the landslide early warning center of the National Building Research Organisation to the districts of Colombo, Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura Districts have been extended untill 1630 hrs today.
Level II landslid early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries Divisions and surrounding areas of Neluwa in the Galle district, Ingiriya in the Kalutara district, Pasbage Korale in the Kandy district, Kotapola and Pitabeddara in the Matara district, Ayagama, Kuruwita, Pelmadulla, Nivithigala, Kiriella, Ratnapura, Elapatha, Eheliyagoda and Kalawana in the Ratnapura district.
Level I landslide early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries Divisions and surrounding areas of Seethawaka in the Colombo district, Elpitiya in the Galle district, Walasmulla in the Hambanthota district, Mathugama, Buathsinhala, Aggalawaththa and Walallawita in the Kalutara district, Yatiyanthota, Kegalle and Dehiowita in the Kegalle district, Athureliya and Mulatiyana in the Matara district and Imbulpe and Kolonna in the Ratnapura district
Opposition: Judge’s resignation has tarnished Lanka’s image
He should have taken action against those who threatened him – govt.
By Saman Indrajith
Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday that there were serious questions and concerns about the independence of the judiciary following the resignation of Mullaitivu District Judge T. Saravanarajah, citing threats and harassment.
“This is a serious issue and the government should conduct an independent inquiry into this matter immediately,” Premadasa said.
Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella said the judge’s resignation, citing threats and harassment following his ruling on the Kurundimalai temple, had led to concerns about the independence of the judiciary. He said that the Mullaitivu Magistrate had been pressured to change his judgment.
Justice Minister,Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said Sri Lankan judges had power to issue summons and take appropriate action against individuals who attempted to exert influence over them. He asked why the judge concerned had not used his powers.
Minister Rajapakshe said that the Opposition could file a contempt of court case if anyone had pressured the Mullaitivu Magistrate to reverse his judgment as claimed, without levelling allegations against the government.
The Minister said the government had no powers to investigate the matter involving the Magistrate and that the JSC was the relevant body to handle the matter and requested if anyone had any issue, they could complain to the Judicial Service Commission.
TNA MP Sumanthiran said that the whole world knew that there was pressure on the Judge. “The Minister cannot claim that there was no pressure on the judge.”
Minister Rajapakshe said that if there was anyone in the House who had exerted pressure on the judiciary it was MP Sumanthiran. He said MP Sumanthiran had on 20 October, 2022 told Parliament that the judges of the Supreme Court should be sent home. “You said in this House that people had no faith in the Supreme Court.”
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