Covid-19 Vaccine and Travelling Overseas

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The Covid-19 pandemic has left people suffering not only healthily but also economically. The sharp rise in prices of essential goods, especially in Sri Lanka, has created a negative perception of the country’s government among the people, and how are we going to cope with this increase? Is our salary enough to cover all expenses? Has raised many questions. Due to this many people leave Sri Lanka and go abroad. We can also observe an increase in the number of people going to the Department of Immigration and Emigration to obtain a passport. 

There is currently widespread talk around the world about the Covid-19 and the vaccines that have been introduced to control it. The Sri Lankan government imported billions of vaccines from many countries. 

Also, there are many opinions among the people that we can go to any country only if we get the vaccine produced in those countries or we can not go to any country if we get the vaccine produced in another country. We have submitted an RTI request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm this. The ministry had responded. 

Accordingly, we asked those who are going abroad on a student visa or tourist visa which vaccine they should get. The ministry responded that most countries do not require the vaccine to enter their country. Many countries approve the vaccine for emergency use, which is approved by the World Health Organization. However, some countries claim to be able to enter the country only if they receive a specific vaccine. Travellers can obtain the specific vaccine, if they show the required documentation and a valid air ticket from the embassy.

The next question that arises among our people is whether those who are going abroad have to pay any fee to get the Covid-19 vaccine. We also asked the same question to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through RTI. It said there was no charge for the vaccine and that the vaccine was provided free of charge to the public under the state vaccination program. 

In addition, the immunization program for emigrants is being carried out by the Ministry of Health and the Sri Lankan Army. Those who want to get the vaccine can go to the MOH unit where they live or to the vaccination center by the military and get the vaccine. We asked if there are any separate vaccination centers for the people who are planning to travel abroad, the ministry said no such separate vaccination centers had been set up and that all vaccination centers are open to all Sri Lankan public including resident foreign nationals. 

At present, the government is implementing the Covid vaccine program in many places throughout Sri Lanka on a daily basis. We can get information about the places where vaccinations are given on a daily basis through the media. We will also follow the health guidelines issued by the government for the benefit of the people and put an end to the Covid-19 infection.   

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