The Health Ministry has ended administering the US-made Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 after about six million doses expired on Monday.
Deputy Director General of Health Dr. Hemantha Herath told Timesonline that despite 8.2 million people getting the first Pfizer booster dose (third dose) only 202,571 persons got the second booster shot.
He said the majority of the Pfzer vaccines were purchased by the Health Ministry, therefore discarding such a lot of doses will be a financial loss to the country.
“People lost interest in obtaining the vaccination as the COVID threat receded. Repeated pleas to get the vaccine were ignored. The shelf life was extended from July 31 to October 31, but still those who got the jab were very less. With the upcoming winter season there is a possibility of COVID numbers increasing,” he warned.
On Monday, 17 people were tested positive for COVID-19, the Director General of Health said yesterday. One death has been reported during the past 24 hours.
“The issue will arise for those seeking the Pfizer dose when travelling to European and other Western countries. The Pfizer vaccine is not available even in the private sector,” said Head of the Public Health Inspectors Union Upul Rohana said.
COVID has killed 16, 780 Lankans and over 671,087 persons have been tested positive for the deadly virus since the first outbreak.