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State universities to be reopened next month

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UGC Chairman Prof. Sampath Amaratunga said discussions are on to reopen universities in November following the prolonged closure due to the outbreak of Covid-19 world pandemic.

The five-day Covid-19 vaccination program for university students will begin tomorrow, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena said.

He said the undergraduates will be administered the Sinopharm vaccine and the university vaccination program has been arranged in consultation with the health authorities, University Grants Commission (UGC) officials and Vice-Chancellors. The students can receive the jab from the university closest to their residence and they are not required to visit the university they are enrolled in, Dr. Gunawardena said.

The Government plans to complete Covid vaccinations for youth aged 20-30 by the end of this month. Speaking on the national inoculation drive, Dr. Asela Gunawardena said the rolling out of the third booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will commence after the inoculation program for children concludes.

The booster shot will be administered to people who have received the second dose, after an interval of six months. However, immunocompromised people will be given the third dose a month after being fully vaccinated. Almost hundred percent of those over 60 have now been fully vaccinated and the inoculation of those between 30 to 59 years is nearing completion, the Health Ministry stated.

The Sri Lanka Medical Association has recommended that a third dose be administered to those above 60 who had received the Sinopharm jab, one month after the second dose. The third dose can be AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna.

State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana said the SPC has already placed orders for 14.5 million more doses of Pfizer vaccine for children and those eligible for a third dose.

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