Vaccination: No major side effects reported so far – Sudarshini
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control State Minister Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle yesterday said that those who had received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine hadn’t so far reported major side effects.
The vaccination programme was continuing quite successfully, Dr. Fernandopulle said, as the total number of persons vaccinated by 2 pm, on Monday reached 60,000.
The State Minister said so in response to The Island query whether hospitals and other locations where frontline health workers received vaccine reported post-vaccination problems.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last Thursday (28) received the first 500,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from India, which has donated the shots to eight countries in the region. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
The government earlier announced approximately 150,000 health workers and 115,000 selected military and police personnel would be immunized at six hospitals in Colombo and its suburbs.
Asked whether India had sent medical personnel along with the consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in case of emergency, Dr. Fernandopulle, who had been also at the BIA with President Rajapaksa to receive the Indian consignment, emphasized as expected from any vaccine, fever, body aches and pain at the injections sites had been reported. “Our doctors and other medical personnel are capable of handling emergency and ready to face any eventuality,” Dr. Fernandopulle said, adding that there was no requirement to bring in doctors from India.
Responding to another query, the State Minister pointed out Sri Lanka had the experience in managing very efficient childhood vaccination programme. Dr. Fernandopulle gave the required leadership in the absence of health minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi receiving treatment for Covid-19.
According to the State Minister, those who had received the first dose could take the second in four weeks. Sri Lanka launched its vaccination programme on January 29. Asked whether the vaccination programme covered the entire country, lawmaker Fernandopulle said it was being implemented in MOH areas in all provinces. “Hospital workers have to get the second dose from the same place and very often it is the place of work,” Dr. Fernandopulle said.
Dr. Fernandopulle received the new appointment several weeks ago as the government battled uphill battle to bring the epidemic under control.
The State Minister urged the public to strictly follow health guidelines though the vaccination programme was underway. Protection provided to medical staff engaged in Covid-19 control efforts would certainly enhance confidence among the public, Dr. Fernandopulle said.
At one point the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) warned of government hospitals as well as military-run facilities that accommodated the affected persons being overwhelmed.
Dr. Fernandopulle said that the situation would continue to improve as the government brought the first round of vaccination programme to a successful conclusion.
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
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