Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Samitha Ginige says he accepts the information revealed pertaining to Sri Lanka having the highest COVID-related deaths in comparison to the country’s population, in South Asia.
In response to a question raised during a media briefing at the Government Information Department, Dr. Ginige said several factors contributed to the rise in the COVID death rate.
He noted the number of fatalities will rise with the increase in COVID-19 patients, with effects of the Delta variant.
He added groups at risk not being vaccinated is another reason for the rise in fatalities, while stating that attention will be directed to vaccinating persons over 60 years of age during the imposition of quarantine curfew.
Dr. Ginige said in comparison to several other countries Sri Lanka has a stringent system in place to report deaths, which has also contributed to the mortality rate.
Dr. Samitha Ginige said there is a group of individuals over 60 years of age who have still not been vaccinated against COVID-19, although free health services were provided to all areas and over 60-year-olds being prioritised during the past two to three weeks, and vaccination centres being established exclusively for this age group.
He noted it is concerning, as the elderly are at a higher risk, and vaccinations are being carried out to reduce fatalities.
He stressed therefore persons over 60 years of age must get vaccinated.
Dr. Ginige noted any individual who is over 60 years of age can obtain the vaccine from any vaccination centre, without any issue.
He added they will be prioritised in the vaccination drive.
Dr. Ginige stated an island wide survey is being carried out with health officials, security forces and other relevant officials, to gather data pertaining to persons over 60 years of age, who have not received a vaccine.
He stated during the survey persons will be directed to get vaccinated, adding that individuals who are immobile can get vaccinated at home by contacting the 1906 hotline.