Inoculation with Sino-pharm Covid-19 vaccine, developed by China National Pharmaceutical Groups, would begin at vaccination centres across the country including in Dhaka from today.
“The inoculation with the Sinopharm vaccine will begin tomorrow (Saturday). People who have already registered online will get the vaccine. The vaccine recipients will be informed through SMS while some will get the vaccines on the priority basis,” Dr. Md. Shamsul Haque, Line Director (MNC & AH) of Directorate General of Health Services told the Daily Sun on Friday.
He, however, said the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine will be administered later.
Speaking at a programme on Monday, health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque said, “The administration of first dose of Sinopharm vaccine will resume from June 19. The vaccines will be administered to vaccine seekers who have already registered online.”He said in this phase, five lakh Sinopharm vaccines will be administered as the first dose and the rest of the total 11 lakh will be kept reserved for second dose.
The DGHS sources said the Sinopharm vaccines will be administered at all government medical college hospitals, general hospitals, district headquarters hospitals and 250-bed hospitals across the country.
One vaccination center will be set up in each district, excluding Dhaka district and two booths in each center while each of the four medical college hospitals in Dhaka district will have one vaccination center and two booths in each center. Vaccination booths will be arranged as per number of vaccine recipients.
The vaccination center will remain open daily from 8 am to 3 pm except on Friday and public holidays.
People who have already registered at Covid-19 vaccine but didn’t receive the vaccine yet will get the vaccines. At the same time, government health workers, police personnel, students of government-private medical and dental colleges, government nursing and midwifery institutes, government MATS and assistant IST students, expatriate Bangladeshi resident workers, students of residential halls of government universities will get the vaccine on the priority basis.
Officials and employees involved in development projects of the government, cleaners of Dhaka North and South City Corporation areas, ward municipality workers engaged in cremation of Covid-19 patients across the country and Chinese nationals living in Bangladesh will also get the vaccine this time.
The government has already received 11 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses as a gift from the Chinese government. Of those, 6 lakh shots arrived in the country from China on June 13. Earlier, on May 12, Bangladesh received a gift of 5 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses from China.
However, the government in last month administered the Sinopharm vaccine to some medical college students as pilot project.
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 Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) on April 29 gave emergency use authorisation to the Sinopharm vaccine in Bangladesh.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the Sinopharm vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age, pending the results of further studies in that age group.
“Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine should not take it. Anyone with a body temperature over 38.5ºC should postpone vaccination until they no longer have a fever,” it said.
SAGE recommends the use of Sinopharm vaccine as 2 doses (0.5 ml) given intramuscularly. An interval of 3–4 weeks between the first and second dose is recommended.
On April 26, 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.
Administering a few second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is still going on at different vaccination centres as 58,20015 people received the first dose of the vaccine. Some 42,63,362 people received the second dose of the vaccine. The government purchased 70 lakh Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute of India and received more 33 lakh as gift from Indian government.
On May 31, a consignment of 1,00,620 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine reached Dhaka, via the international vaccine alliance Gavi under its worldwide vaccination initiative Covax.
On May 6, the online registration process of the national vaccination programme was stopped due to the vaccine crisis. A total of 72,48,829 people registered for the coronavirus vaccine until May 5.