COLOMBO, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have received the COVID-19 vaccinations as the island country is inoculating the public against the virus, Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella said on Tuesday.
Rambukwella told a weekly media briefing that since the AstraZeneca vaccines had arrived in the island country from India and after inoculating the frontline workers, members of parliament were put on the priority list to receive the vaccines, and the president and prime minister had also been inoculated.
He said it was important that leading figures in the country received the vaccines to encourage more people to come forward and be vaccinated.
Sri Lanka began vaccinating frontline workers from Jan. 29 after 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived from India.
The vaccination requires two jabs per individual which is why 250,000 frontline workers were allocated to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Since health experts ruled that the second jab could be administered within 10 to 12 weeks, the president earlier last week advised authorities to begin utilizing the remaining 250,000 vaccines to inoculate the most vulnerable groups in the Western Province which is the worst affected by the pandemic.
The vaccination drive then opened out to the legislators and general public.
Sri Lanka is expecting 1.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca to arrive in the country by the end of February under the WHO's COVAX facility, after which individuals will begin receiving the second jab. Enditem