Infectious disease expert and the first healthcare official to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Sri Lanka has resigned from the Covid Prevention Technical Committee, as he claimed that the vaccination program in Sri Lanka is not being implemented as per the recommendations of the experts.
Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, a senior physician at Sri Lanka’s Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) informed the Director-General of Health Services and the Secretary to the Health Ministry by email of his intention to resign.
Deputy Director-General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath told reporters, “his decision to step down would badly affect the way forward in terms of eliminating COVID-19” and invited Dr. Wijewickrama to reconsider his decision. “Dr. Wijewickrama has been one of the key medical professionals [...] in the battle against COVID-19 in the country.”
Wijewickrama notably accepted Sri Lanka’s first vaccine to “alleviate any fears and doubts among the people about the vaccine.”
Specialist Prof. Neelika Malavige and Dr. Ashoka Gunaratne also reportedly decided to resign from the Covid Prevention Technical Committee, with Gunaratne claiming the committee was “not utilizing his full potential’ after nearly a year and a half of service.
Earlier this week, the Health Department expressed concerns over rising cases of COVID in Vavuniya after forty-five deaths were recorded in the district within the first week of September.
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