Bangladesh on Tuesday began administering the first dose of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, marking a major turning point in its fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the inoculation programme at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.On May 12, Bangladesh received 5 lakh China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine doses, donated by the Chinese government.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, China and Bangladesh have been supporting and assisting each other in their fight against the pandemic.
China has donated and is donating vaccine doses to 80 developing countries with urgent needs, and has provided support under COVAX for the emergency use of vaccines in developing countries.
China has fulfilled its commitment to make the Covid-19 vaccine a global public good with practical actions, promoted the fair distribution of global vaccines and made China’s contribution to the realisation of vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
China says it will continue to make joint efforts with Bangladesh to make positive contributions to Bangladesh’s endeavour of protecting human lives and fight to win the battle against the pandemic, and together to build an even closer community of shared future and health for mankind.
Vaccination driveBangladesh launched its vaccination drive on February 7 with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses purchased from India's Serum Institute.
The administration of the first dose has remained suspended since April 26.
Also, the country, the prime recipient of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, has suspended the registration for Covid-19 jabs due to vaccine shortage amid a delay in the timely arrival of shipments from India.
Vaccine supply update
The government signed an agreement with Serum Institute of India for 30 million doses, but the worsening situation in India has made the delivery of the doses uncertain.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Friday reached out to global media to let the world know that Bangladesh is desperately looking for vaccines and ready to accept any shipment from any country.
"A large number of people in Bangladesh, who took the first dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca, could not get the second dose because we’ve run out of supplies," the minister said.
In response to Bangladesh’s request, China on Friday said it will send the second batch of 600,000 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine as a gift.
The Foreign Minister on Thursday said the government was making its best efforts to get vaccines from multiple countries – the US, China, Canada, Russia and the UK – apart from its continuous request to India to meet Bangladesh's urgent needs.
Also, the country would receive a minimum of 106,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine under the COVAX scheme, co-led by Gavi, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said May 18.