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World Bank helps Sri Lanka buy 5mn Coronavirus vaccines, oxygen concentrators

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Washington-based World Bank said it is funding 800,000 Pfizer vaccines as part of a program to help Sri Lanka get 5 million doses of Coronavirus vaccines by the year end and is also funding oxygen generating machines.

The first batch has just arrived in Sri Lanka.

“The delivery of this first batch of vaccines reflects the joint work of the government of Sri Lanka and its partners to ensure fair access to safe and effective vaccines for Sri Lankans,” Faris H. Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka said in a statement.

“More vaccines are under review and will arrive by year’s end.”

The World Bank gives money for vaccines that received regular or emergency license or authorization from at least one of several stringent regulatory authorities identified by the World Health Organization for vaccines procured and/or supplied under the COVAX facility, and vaccines that received WHO prequalification or WHO emergency use listing.

The lender has helped set up molecular biology laboratories and provided laboratory and biomedical equipment and is supporting oxygenerator purchases.

“Patient treatment capacity will be improved through the planned district-level oxygen generating plants, ensuring oxygen supplies are available to patients,” the agency said.

“New isolation units and ICU/High Dependency Unit facilities have been set up in secondary and tertiary hospitals. World Bank funds have also helped provide essential supplies and services to 70 COVID-19 treatment centers.”

World Bank is giving Sri Lanka 298.07 million dollars through its COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project, including an additional 80.5 million for vaccines. 

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