Colombo, Jan 29: Sri Lanka on Friday launched its national coronavirus immunization campaign by administering the first shots to frontline health workers, soldiers and security personnel, a day after India gifted 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to the island nation.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday thanked India for its generosity after he received 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine donated by the country under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

Frontline health workers, the Army and Police are on the priority list to receive the coronavirus vaccine, the Colombo Gazette reported.

The coronavirus vaccination programme will begin at six hospitals in and around Colombo. The first jabs were given to three soldiers at the Army Hospital in Colombo, the report said.

Senior Consultant Physician at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Angoda Dr Ananda Wijewickrama became the first healthcare official to receive the vaccine, it said.

Health Services Deputy Director General Dr Hemantha Herath said that selected staff at the Colombo National Hospital, Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Homagama Base Hospital, Colombo East Base Hospital and the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Angoda will be vaccinated, the report added. – PTI