The national ceremony to mark one year since Sri Lanka commenced the vaccine drive against the coronavirus got underway this morning, under the patronage of Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella.
The event was held at the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Health said the vaccination drive was officially launched in Sri Lanka on the 29th of January last year with more than 51 million stocks of vaccine doses having been imported to Sri Lanka.
Speaking during the event Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the vaccination drive became a success as the government acted with a positive attitude.
Minister Rambukwella said when the first COVID-19 case was detected in Wuhan, China, it was not considered a serious situation.
The Health Minister added thereafter COVID-19 spread across the globe and became a pandemic, and a Chinese national was identified as the first COVID-19 patient in Sri Lanka, on the 27th of January, 2020.
The Minister added the government had to face several challenges since then, as the world had no experience in this regard.
Minister Rambukwella said self-confidence is the most important thing.
Meanwhile commenting on allegations levelled by various factions regarding the vaccination drive Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said such allegations discouraged citizens and those in the health sector.
He added however the President was able to overcome and succeed with self-confidence, which led to health officials fulfilling their responsibilities.
Addressing the ceremony, Secretary to the Ministry of Health Major General Sanjeewa Munasinghe said the COVID-19 pandemic burdened all communities across the globe, and not just Sri Lanka.
He added it affected world powers as well as Sri Lanka.
He noted the country was unable to bear the detection of COVID-19 cases and the loss of lives due to the virus.
Major General Munasinghe said reaching the necessary decisions at the appropriate time and providing relief to the public when finding solutions is a difficult task.
He added the President directing attention towards the matter was a blessing.
The Health Secretary said by appointing a Presidential Task Force regarding COVID-19, the President expedited activities and was able to provide a great service since the beginning of 2020.
He said while several countries struggled to obtain vaccines, the President got involved directly to obtain vaccines for Sri Lanka.
Major General Munasinghe noted vaccinations were the best solution to contain COVID-19 and save lives.
He also commended the support provided by the Tri-Forces in the vaccination drive.