Sri Lanka said Tuesday it will immediately purchase 14 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine as the island nation faces a severe shortage of shots and a surge of COVID-19 cases.
The decision marks a shift to the Chinese vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca shots manufactured in India. Sri Lanka’s larger neighbor has been experiencing a virus crisis and is struggling to meet its own vaccine demands.
Sri Lankan government spokesman Ramesh Pathirana said due to the inability of India’s Serum Institute “to provide sufficient quantities, we needed to look into another source.
“That’s why we look forward to sourcing some vaccines from Sinopharm.”
Sri Lanka began its vaccination drive in January using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. But 600,000 people who got a first dose are still waiting on their second because of the shortage.
Sri Lanka has confirmed 164,201 infections with 1,210 fatalities.