Today, over 728,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to Sri Lanka out of a total contribution of over 1.4 million doses provided by the Government of Japan through the COVAX’s dose sharing mechanism. This is the third COVAX allocation to Sri Lanka, all being entirely donor-funded, with no cost to the country.
The first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility was 264,000 doses of AstraZeneca in March, followed by 1.5 million Moderna vaccines donated by the US earlier this month.
The Government of Japan’s donation is an important response to calls for dose-sharing through the COVAX Facility as an immediate measure to address shortages in vaccine supply. COVAX, the vaccine initiative, is the only global mechanism that distributes vaccines rapidly and equitably with the mission to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible. COVAX is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO); GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; and, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with UNICEF leading on logistics. COVAX receives important bilateral contributions from donors who have been consistent supporters of the UN more broadly; and, the Facility also has important alliances with member countries, multilateral institutions, foundations, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and other stakeholders.
The AZ vaccines are a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s vaccination drive. The vaccine roll-out combined with public health and social measures reflects the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to slow the pandemic down and put the country on track for a robust recovery.