Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
08 Jul, 2021 | 12:03 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): A decision has been reached to discontinue the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine as the second dose for those who had received the AstraZeneca jab as their first jab, the Ministry of Health said.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has informed that adequate stocks of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be provided to Sri Lanka by the 03rd-week of July,” Dr. Hemantha Herath, the Deputy Director-General of Health Services explained the reason to reverse the decision during a press briefing held on Thursday (Jul. 08).
The Pfizer vaccine was administered as the second dose for those who had already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca jab, Dr. Herath noted, adding “However, technically, it is recommended that the second dose be administered from the same vaccine as the first dose, for any type of vaccine.”
“However, given the uncertainty of procuring adequate stocks of the AstraZeneca jab to administer the second dose, based on further technical and expert recommendations, a decision was reached to use the Pfizer Vaccine as an alternative to the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the Deputy Director-General of Health Services noted.
Thereafter, the Ministry of Health took measures to administer the Pfizer Vaccine as the second dose for those who had received the AstraZeneca jab as the first dose in the Colombo Municipality.
“As soon as we receive these stocks, we can clearly administer the second dose of the jab for those who had already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Therefore, we decided to immediately stop the use of Pfizer vaccines as the second dose,” Dr. Herath stressed.
According to Dr. Herath, this decision was reached for the well-being of everyone in Sri Lanka.
“We hope that it is much better to administer the AstraZeneca jab as the second dose as well, instead of subjecting our people to an experiment on the mix-and-match approach of COVID-19 jab. This decision was reached for the well-being of everyone,” the Deputy Director-General of Health Services elaborated.
Thereby, those who are yet to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca jab in the Colombo Municipality and the Western Province, will be administered the second dose as soon as the consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines reaches Sri Lanka in the coming weeks.
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