Colombo, Feb 25: Sri Lanka on Thursday received 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines ordered from India.
"Actively aiding #lka win against COVID, 2nd consignment of 500,000 COVISHIELD vaccines arrived from #India to #lka today," the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka tweeted.
Sri Lanka's acting health minister Channa Jayasumana said 500,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine arrived on Thursday. He said the new batch was ordered under an agreement between the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) of Sri Lanka and the Serum Institute of India.
The distribution of vaccines will start on Friday.
India gifted 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine which kicked off Sri Lanka's vaccine rollout in late January. The vaccines were given to the frontline workers and the security personnel.
The government has placed an order for 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India at a cost of USD 52.5 million and a further 3.5 million doses directly from AstraZeneca Institute of UK under the COVAX programme.
Health officials here said the next batch of the Indian order would be coming in March.
Ramesh Pathirana, who is also the Minister of Plantations, earlier said Sri Lanka is likely to go only with the AstraZeneca vaccines for the second phase of vaccination as the Chinese and Russian vaccines are not ready yet.
Last month, India announced it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries - Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius.
India is one of the world's biggest drug-makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring coronavirus vaccines.
Sri Lanka has recorded more than 80,500 coronavirus cases so far with 450 deaths.