President thanks US for 1.5 million vaccines | Sunday Observer

President thanks US for 1.5 million vaccines

18 July, 2021

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a twitter message on July, 16 said “Grateful to the US government and the American people for generously donating 1.5 million Moderna vaccines through the COVAX program to Sri Lanka. Together we shall reach our common goal of beating this pandemic”.

The President’s tweet followed the arrival of a stock of 1.5 million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, donated by the USA, and made available through the COVAX facility of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The consignment was handed over to Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz at Katunayake. In a tweet announcing the donation US Secretary of State Blinken tweeted “The United States is proud to lead the global fight against Covid-19 by sharing 1.5 million Moderna vaccine doses with our Sri Lankan friends.

We are committed to vaccinating as many people as possible to save lives, rebuild the global economy and stop the threat of new variants”.

Responding to it, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was to observe “On behalf of the GOSL and our people, I thank the US Government for donating 1.5 million Moderna vaccines to Sri Lanka. Greatly appreciate US commitment and efforts in eradicating global pandemic and saving lives”. The US decision to make available Covid-19 vaccines as donations to needy countries was first announced by President Biden on April 26, 2021.

The Government which made known its interest in benefitting from this generous gesture earlier, had through its Embassy in Washington D.C., in coordination with the Sri Lanka State Pharmaceuticals Cooperation (CPC), been in discussion with the relevant US administration partners and vaccines manufacturing companies in facilitating the donation to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is expected to receive 1.45 million doses of Astrazeneca manufactured in Japan under the COVAX facility.

The vaccines donated by the Japanese Government as a part of their support for ‘ensuring equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for as many people as possible in the fight against Covid-19’, are expected to arrive next week. The WHO in a statement dated June 20, 2021 said, there were no conditionalities specific to Sri Lanka for receiving the COVAX vaccines.

“WHO Country Office is actively engaged with the Ministry of Health and the country has already submitted the necessary documents to secure the latest allocation,” the statement read.