People At A Loss As.... Covid Vaccination Programme Hits A Snag
Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka|February 24, 2021
The much awaited vaccination drive for Sri Lankan healthcare staff began on January 29. The National Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (NACCD) also listed out four high risk groups including frontline healthcare workers, security personnel, people with cormobid diseases and other essential groups.
Kamanthi Wickramasinghe

However, with the Health Ministry’s recent announcement that the vaccine is available to the public, many people seem to be queueing up at designated vaccination centres to get the jab. But medical experts opine that vaccinating the 30-60 age group doesn’t have a scientific basis and warns that the local vaccine supplies are quickly running out.

GOVT. VIOLATING OWN PROTOCOL

“The Government agreed with people on a protocol and said that there are four groups of people who need the vaccination,” opined Consultant Community Physician Dr. Ruvaiz Haniffa. “They include frontline healthcare workers, security personnel, those with comorbid diseases and other essential people. But now they are violating their own protocols. It’s alright to give it to people, but there has to be a proper plan. The vaccine is given to protect oneself against severe illness” said Dr.Haniffa.

When asked if people need to stick to safety precautions even after the vaccine is given, Dr. Haniffa responded in the affirmative. “You need to follow the Swiss Cheese Model of COVID19 defence. The final outcome of the vaccine is to decrease severity and prevent deaths from COVID,” explained Dr. Haniffa.

NEW VARIANTS WILL BE MORE IMMUNE RESISTANT

“Our vaccination strategy needs to be clear about its goals,” opined international medical researcher and Executive Director at Institute of Health Policy Dr. Ravindra Rannan-Eliya. “These need to be both: (1) minimising deaths and serious illness, and (2) minimising transmission, since our National COVID Strategy, whose goal is Elimination, has failed to achieve its objective. If we had been able to maintain elimination (which would have required an investment in testing which we never made), then we would have had the option of delaying vaccination a little bit.

“There are and will remain huge shortages in vaccine supplies through 2021–2022. Our analysis at IHP is that under the most optimistic scenarios under which all manufacturers deliver on their promised production targets, there is barely enough vaccines to cover everyone in the world by early 2022. The optimal strategy needs to take into account the significant risks of nondelivery or delayed delivery by manufacturers.” said Dr.Rannan-Eliya.

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