COVID-19 vaccination in Sri Lanka

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COVID-19 vaccination in Sri Lanka
The United States Delivers COVID-19 Vaccine Doses to Sri Lanka (51776533161).jpg
A Sri Lankan woman is vaccinated in 2021 as part of the COVAX initiative
Date29 January 2021 (2021-01-29) – present
LocationSri Lanka
CauseCOVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka
Organized byGovernment of Sri Lanka
  • 56.4% of the Sri Lankan population has received at least one dose (as of 28 August 2021)
  • 31.5% of Sri Lankan population has received both doses (as of 28 August 2021)

COVID-19 vaccination in Sri Lanka is an ongoing immunisation campaign against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, in response to the ongoing pandemic in the country. As of late July, the Sinopharm BIBP vaccine accounted for 78% of the total 13.8 million vaccines obtained by Sri Lanka to date.[1] The United States donated over 1.5 million Moderna vaccine through COVAX.[2]


The Government of Sri Lanka commenced its COVID-19 vaccination program under the COVAX facility with first batch of Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccines arrive in Sri Lanka on 28 January 2021 from the Serum Institute of India. (SII).[3]

Phase one

In the first phase, the government began vaccination of health and front line workers in February 2021.[citation needed]

Phase two

In the second phase, the government began vaccination of persons above the age of 30 in late February 2021 in the Western Province. This was rolled back in early March 2021, to limited to persons above the age of 60. By April, vaccination of persons above the age of 30 has started and extended beyond the Western Province.[citation needed]


By April, with a surge in COVID cases in a third wave of infections, Sri Lanka faced a severe shortage of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine due to an export ban by India.[4] This left majority of the 3.5% of the population that was given the first dose without access to the second.[5] Sri Lanka faced an shortage of Sputnik V vaccine due to a spike of cases in Russia resulting in the manufacturer Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, focusing on meeting local demand.[6]

Other vaccine supplies

In March 2021, the Sinopharm BIBP vaccine was approved emergency use.[7] In May, the country ordered 14 million doses on top of 1.1 million doses previously donated.[8] By July, Sri Lanka had received 10.7 million doses of the vaccine.[1] In June, local studies in the country showed vaccination with the Sinopharm BIBP vaccine generated seroconversion and antibody responses in individuals to Delta and Beta variants similar to antibody levels seen following a natural infection[9][10]

Phase three

With vaccination of persons above 30 years reaching completion, vaccination of those between 18 and 30 years who did not fall under special categories were started in early September 2021.[11]

Proposed vaccine production

On 27 May State Minister for Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana told reporters Sri Lanka was considering co-production of CoronaVac. It was not clarified if it would handle full production or a fill and finish plant.[12]

Vaccination programme

Vaccines used

Currently, the vaccines approved by government of Sri Lanka for emergency use are:

Vaccine Approval Deployment
Oxford–AstraZeneca Green check.svg Yes Green check.svg Yes[3]
Sinopharm BIBP Green check.svg Yes Green check.svg Yes[13]
Sputnik V Green check.svg Yes Green check.svg Yes[14]
Pfizer–BioNTech Green check.svg Yes Green check.svg Yes
Moderna Green check.svg Yes Green check.svg Yes
Sinovac Green check.svg Yes Dark Red x.svg No

Vaccine distribution

Vaccine types were deployed on a geographical and group basis:

Special groups
  • Medical professionals and front line workers: Oxford–AstraZeneca
  • Students travelling overseas for studies: Pfizer–BioNTech
  • Migrant workers travelling overseas for work: Pfizer–BioNTech
  • Fishermen in Mannar: Pfizer–BioNTech
  • Western province: Oxford–AstraZeneca, Sinopharm BIBP
  • Central province: Sputnik V, Moderna
  • Southern province: Oxford–AstraZeneca, Sinopharm BIBP
  • North Western province: Oxford–AstraZeneca, Sinopharm BIBP
  • Northern province: Sinopharm BIBP
  • Eastern province: Sinopharm BIBP
  • Sabaragamuwa province: Sinopharm BIBP
  • Uva province: Sinopharm BIBP
  • North central province: Sinopharm BIBP

Vaccine on order

Vaccine Type (technology) Doses ordered Manufacturer Remarks
Oxford–AstraZeneca Viral vector 8,400,000 India Serum Institute -
Sputnik V Viral vector 13,000,000 Russia R-Pharm -
Pfizer–BioNTech RNA 14,900,000 [15][11] United States Pfizer -
Sinopharm BIBP Inactivated virus 23,000,000[16][8] China Sinopharm -


  1. ^ a b "Sri Lanka had little choice except China's Sinopharm: Weeratunga". EconomyNext. 29 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. donates over 1.5 million Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka". US Embassy in Sri Lanka. 16 July 2021. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "First batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility arrive in Sri Lanka". Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Sri Lanka's COVID-19 Response: Saving Lives Today, Preparing for Tomorrow". World Bank. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  5. ^ "The Latest: Sri Lanka looks to ease shortage with Sputnik V". Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Sputnik V vaccine supply hindered due to spike in Covid cases in Russia". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  7. ^ "NMRA approves sinopharm vaccine for emergency use". Colombo Gazette. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b "The Latest: Sri Lanka gets 2nd vaccine donation from China". ABC News. Archived from the original on 25 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Tests in Sri Lanka find Sinopharm vaccine very effective". Colombo Gazette. 20 July 2021. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  10. ^ Jeewandara, Chandima; Aberathna, Inoka Sepali; Pushpakumara, Pradeep Dharshana; Kamaladasa, Achala; Guruge, Dinuka; Jayathilaka, Deshni; Gunesekara, Banuri; Tanussiya, Shyrar; Kuruppu, Heshan; Ranasinghe, Thushali; Dayarathne, Shashika (19 July 2021). "Antibody and T cell responses to Sinopharm/BBIBP-CorV in naive and previously infected individuals in Sri Lanka". medRxiv: 2021.07.15.21260621. doi:10.1101/2021.07.15.21260621. ISSN 2126-0621. S2CID 236039068.
  11. ^ a b "Govt. aims to complete vaccinating all above 18 by September end". Adaderana. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Sri Lanka to co-produce Sinovac vaccines: Minister". EconomyNext. 27 May 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Sri Lanka begins administering Sinopharm vaccines". xinhuanet. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Sri Lanka rolls out Russia's Sputnik V vaccine". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Sri Lanka to purchase 900,000 doses of Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 vaccine in July". Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Sri Lanka eyes 3mn Sinopharm Covid-19 doses to ramp up Coronavirus vaccination drive". Retrieved 2 June 2021.