21 May, 2024


Karu Steps In To Secure Vaccine Donors As Govt. Outsources Procurement To Private Firms

At least three European nations have responded positively to former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s interventions to secure Astra-Zeneca vaccines for Sri Lanka as the island grapples with a third, deadly wave of the coronavirus and severe shortage of doses to protect citizens from the often-fatal disease.

Karu Jayasuriya

Jayasuriya, who now leads the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) , made urgent intercessions with the embassies of Switzerland, Germany and France, appealing to envoys from those states to provide excess doses to Sri Lanka as soon as possible. Jayasuriya also met with the UN Resident Coordinator Hana Singer recently, to secure another stock of COVAX distributed through the World Health Organization.

All three European Nations have responded affirmatively to the Speaker’s request, the NMSJ said.

The Speaker’s intercessions for vaccine donations come amidst reports that the Government has decided to purchase 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca “at any price” in order to provide second doses to citizens who already received the first jab. Colombo Telegraph learns that the contract to purchase AstraZeneca in the open market will be awarded to a private company owned by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s de facto chief of staff Dilith Jayaweera. Jayaweera’s firm was linked to a monopoly on antigen test kits purchased outside of health guidelines when Sri Lanka was struck by the second wave of the coronavirus in October 2020.

Colombo Telegraph learns that Jayaweera’s company George Steuart Health is negotiating to purchase AstraZeneca doses at US $ 25 each. The Government is considering purchase of these doses at US $ 50 each, a 100% markup for life-saving vaccines.

Tens of millions of Astra-Zeneca doses are going unused in the US and parts of Europe, where states have suspended use because of increased risk of blood clots in a statistically minute number of people who received the dose. These states have opted to use stocks of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines instead. Sri Lanka inoculated some 600,000 people with AZ vaccines about three months ago, but does not have sufficient doses to provide the vital second jabs.

On Monday, a near stampede took place outside the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Maradana, where thousands had gathered to get the second AstraZeneca jabs, but doses were extremely limited. Health experts are warning that the rush at vaccine centres could create mini clusters of Covid-19 infections around the Western Province. (By Chinthika de Silva)

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Latest comments

  • 23

    Is it Dilith Jayaweeras company or Gotas company with Dilith Jayaweera as front man

    • 2

      If Urujuwa should be killed in police arrest, why on earth Dilith jayaweera should have special privilege s to be from being arrested.?????😉😉😉😉😉😉one law to them and another law to if any one close to nation s mlechcha family????????☹☹☹☹☹☹☹

  • 2

    must be pus vaccines

    • 6

      U the kind of idiots only misled punnaku drinkers in the country. Yet today to have gut to continue slave mentality with mlechcha family, u should be an ultra idiot. Gota proved to be a wedabari Tarzan,how can a pimp do the job well if world recognized Ranil and JRJ failed it?😉😉😉

  • 5

    “Karunawa” or kindness, concern and a pragmatic approach of Karu is much appreciated. The second jab fiasco is a big blunder and mismanagement. Judging from the whole episode, Prof. Jayasumana, who is entrusted to localize the health sector which is heavily import dependent, must think of local manufacture of the primer that is used for PCR testing as well as the local manufacture of the vaccine, which both the Russians and Chinese have volunteered to assist. It is incidental to note that a Singapore company has already developed a test kit in the form of blowing a balloon (similar to testing for alcohol consumption) for COVID-19 virus test. I don’t mind the great money maker Dilith locally manufacturing any of these to but to cash in for a very quick buck of a 100% profit when everybody is suffering is an abomination.

  • 11

    Karu’s attempts will be blocked to make way for Dilith to make a killing profit. It is this cunning greedy plan that deprived the country of more Astra Zeneca shots. They deliberately kept quite without asking for help to Create this crisis so they can then justify robbing more money off the pandemic.

  • 2

    Didn’t Sajith Premadasa already requested these countries to help with the vaccine. Why is Karu poking his nose here? Is he going to contest the next Presidential election as a common candidate?

    • 1

      Dear Buddhist1, it seems Mr Karu Jayasuriya has taken on this within the mandate of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ)! He now leads NMSJ.

      From my recollection of his past stances, he awaits opportunities such as a ticket for presidential candidacy to be handed to him…, in his words, just as he has been blessed with the past opportunities like his tenure as the speaker of the house. Seems unlikely he will consider running as an independent.

  • 6

    If Karu has more clout with developed countries than the current President, he certainly is more Presidential material than any of the current lot. UK is currently vaccinating over 30s but from next month, under 30s will be eligible who will not be given the Oxford AZ vaccine due to its possible blood clotting effects on young people. No doubt, Boris J will oblige by donating suplus vaccines but the Rajapakse regime is not in the good books of UK. Maybe Liam Fox will influence Boris, after all, Liam & his family have holidayed in SL at the SL tax payers’ expense in the past.

    Of course, procurement at ‘any price’ makes it legal to profit enormously. Anyway, SL can hold its head high instead of begging from the West who have always tried to screw poor SL.

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