COLOMBO: With young people infected with coronavirus making up a third of the hospital admissions in Sri Lanka, the government has decided to extend the current Covid vaccination programme to include those below 30 years of age, a top official said on Tuesday.
Lanka's State Pharmaceutical Corporation Chairman Dr Prasanna Gunasena in an interaction with reporters here said 3.5 million of the total 21 million population of the country are below 30 and given the current surge of the deadly viral infection, vaccinating people in the 18-29 age group is very important.
"Almost 30 per cent of the (coronavirus) patients who have got admitted to hospitals are below 30 years of age," he said.
Gunasena said the government is confident that it can start vaccinating below 30 years of age population by the end of August.
"We will not wait until we vaccinate all above 30 to start the vaccination for below 30 years of age. By the end of August or first week of September our plan is to completely vaccinate around 96 per cent of the above 30 categories. Along with that we will start to vaccinate below 30 around that time and end it by end of September," he said.
State Pharmaceutical Corporation is the nodal agency, which is procuring Covid vaccines in Lanka.
Lanka has vaccinated 50 per cent of the population with one dose, and 13.8 per cent with two doses by August 08.
Gunasena urged the public to get vaccinated at the first opportunity.
"In Colombo there are about 40,000 people over the age of 60 who have not received even a single dose of the vaccine," he said.
Gunasena also pointed out that fake information are being spread around certain brands of vaccines.
Misleading information are being circulated that some brands of vaccine are not allowed overseas and people taking those shots would not be allowed to travel abroad, he said.
Meanwhile, police said they have begun a search for those who are evading vaccination.
The respective local administration offices are gathering information from each household on vaccination status.
According to the health ministry, a record 111 COVID-19 deaths were recorded on Monday -- the highest daily death toll so far, taking the total number of pandemic deaths to 5,222.
Of the total fatalities, 4,613 were reported in the ongoing third wave, which hit the nation in mid-April.
The authorities are also looking at the option of implementing a total lockdown again in the island nation.
"That (total lockdown) is one of the options, but a decision can only be taken in consideration of so many other factors," Dr Hemantha Herath, deputy director of health services, told reporters on Monday.