The administering of the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine will resume in the country soon as the government is bringing different vaccines from different countries to inoculate all.
The government has already received 11 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses as a gift from the Chinese government.Of them, 6 lakh shots arrived in the country from China on Sunday.
At the same time, the government has signed an agreement with China to procure more Covid-19 vaccines from the country.
On April 25 last, the government suspended the administering of the first dose with Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine after India halted the export of the jab in March amid a massive rise in coronavirus infections in the neighbouring country.
The government may start the vaccination programme in full swing from the next month with the Sinopharm jab, the sources said.
“We had been waiting for the 6 lakh doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to start vaccination again. With the arrival of the vaccines, we’ll resume the administering of the first dose soon,” Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun.
The DGHS sources said the Sinopharm vaccine will be given to people as per the registration and university students may also be included in the registration process.Talking to the Daily Sun, Dr Md Shamsul Haque, line director (MNC & AH) of the DGHS, said, “I haven’t got any decision about administering the Chinese vaccine. After getting more doses, it’ll be clear how to distribute the vaccine.”
“An agreement has been signed with China for purchasing Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. The government hopes China will take the next step soon in this regard. Fruitful discussions have also taken place with other countries (about bringing the coronavirus vaccine),” Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said on Saturday.
Earlier on May 27, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved a proposal to buy 1.5 crore doses of Sinopharm vaccine.
Two aircraft of Bangladesh Air Force carrying 6 lakh Sinopharm vaccine shots landed at Bangabandhu Airbase in Dhaka's Kurmitola area in the afternoon.
On May 12, Bangladesh received a gift of 5 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses from China.
The government has already started administering first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine to medical students on a priority basis.
On May 25, about 500 students from four medical colleges were administered the vaccine on an experimental basis. Later, Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) administered the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to more than 450 Chinese citizens.
The Chinese vaccine doses have arrived in Bangladesh when it is desperately looking for vaccines from different sources after India halted the export of AstraZeneca vaccine.
The DGHS said the Sinopharm vaccine will be given to students of medical colleges and nursing institutes, and medical technologists on a priority basis.
The vaccine will also be administered among the university students as part of the move to reopen the educational institutions.
"Vaccination will continue simultaneously with both Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines. Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines will be administered according to the registration list,” the health minister said on June 7.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) on April 29 gave emergency use authorisation to the Sinopharm vaccine in Bangladesh.
The vaccine could be stored in a standard refrigerator between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius like the Oxford-AstraZeneca one.
Bangladesh will also receive 1.008 million shots of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX programme, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen in a message to media on Friday. "We’re getting 1 million 800 AstraZeneca vaccine soon under the COVAX facility,” he said in the short message sent by his press official to the media. “The AstraZeneca vaccine doses will arrive soon.”
These doses have been allocated from the COVAX supply. COVAX has not mentioned the source of this supply of AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh, the message added.
The DGHS said the country needs around 20 lakh more Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses to ensure second doses for the vaccine recipients who have already received their first doses.
On May 31, a consignment of 100,620 doses of the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Dhaka under the COVAX facility.
On May 27, the DGDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in Bangladesh, removing all legal barriers to the import and use of this vaccine.