Japanese Ambassador Akira Sugiyama says following the personal request of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga, the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the Government of Japan will arrive in the island next Saturday (07).
The Japanese Ambassador made this remark while officially handing over the stock of AstraZeneca which was brought down to Sri Lanka last Saturday (July 31), to the President at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (August 2).
He added that the Prime Minister of Japan has decided to provide 1.456 million doses of the vaccine to Sri Lanka after paying special attention to the President's personal request to the Prime Minister to fulfill the need for the second dose of AstraZeneca in Sri Lanka, and in recognition of long-standing friendship between the two countries.
The first consignment of 728,460 vaccine doses was sent to the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake by SriLankan Airlines flight UL-455. The administering of AstraZeneca second dose began at 20 selected centres in the Western Province from yesterday (01).
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The Japanese Ambassador and the Country Representatives of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF commended the entire vaccination programme in Sri Lanka, the commencement of the vaccination drive within a few hours of receiving the vaccine consignment, and the President's direct involvement, guidance and leadership in the vaccination programme.