The Latest: Sri Lanka receives 1st batch of Sputnik V shots

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A Sri Lankan couple receive the vaccine for COVID-19 at a municipal health centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, April 30, 2021. For many weeks, the number of daily COVID-19 infections in the island nation of Sri Lanka stood below 200. But last week, the figure suddenly surged and reached 1,466 on Thursday, the highest ever in a single day since the start of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has received its first batch of the Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

The 15,000 doses were flown in early hours of Tuesday to the Indian ocean island nation which is struggling to obtain COVID-19 vaccines because of the delay in getting them from the neighboring India.

Sri Lanka has ordered 13 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from the Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation Channa Jayasuma, and officials from the Russian embassy were present at the country’s main airport to receive the vaccines.

Jayasumana said he was hopeful that Sri Lanka would receive the total of 13 million doses of the Sputnik V from Russia in the future.

Sri Lanka is facing a shortage of 600,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in order to complete the 2nd round of the vaccine program.

Under the first round, 925,242 persons were vaccinated and at present, Sri Lankan health ministry has about 350,000 doses and as a result, there is a shortage of 600,000 doses as the island nation so far did not get it’s vaccines ordered from India.

The number of COVID patients is rapidly rising across the country over the last week. Sri Lanka’s total number of positive cases have reached 111,753 with 696 fatalities.