The government has suspended first dose of Covid-19 vaccination due to shortage of vaccine supply.
However, the second dose of the vaccination will continue across the country.Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) issued a notice on Sunday regarding suspension of the first dose of vaccination from Monday. The notice was signed by Dr Md Shamsul Haque, secretary general of Covid-19 Vaccine Management Taskforce Committee.
The notice also asked all civil surgeons, chief health officials of city corporations and all upazila health and family planning officials to take measures accordingly.
"We have stopped first dose of vaccination temporarily until further notice, due to our stock of vaccine," Dr Shamsul Haque, also Line Director (MNC & AH) of the DGHS, told the Daily Sun.
Speaking at online briefing on Sunday, Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the DGHS, said Bangladesh will get 21 lakh more coronavirus vaccine next month.
“COVAX will give one lakh vaccine [Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine] and Serum Institute of India will give 20 lakh vaccine [Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine],” he said.
The DGHS chief further said Bangladesh will receive vaccine as a gift of the Chinese government. “However, National Technical Advisory Committee will give decision about using the vaccine,” he said.He said three pharmaceutical companies of the country are able to manufacture vaccine in the country.
Meanwhile, addressing regular health bulletin of the DGHS, its spokesperson Dr. Md. Robed Amin said the COVAX will give one lakh Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine initially in May. “The COVAX authority will inform us about time and quantity of giving the rest of the vaccine later,” he said.
He further said the DGHS also asked the Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited, local vendor of the Serum Institute of India, to give at least 20 lakh vaccine within the next month.
Robed Amin, also Line Director (NCDC) of the DGHS, said the government has started discussion with GAVI, COVAX authority to purchase 10 crore vaccine.
He said the Chinese government will give Bangladesh six lakh of their vaccine as a gift.
“We have come to know from the foreign ministry that discussion is going on about manufacturing Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine of Russia in the country and the discussion has already reached a stage,” the DGHS official added.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen recently said Moscow gave the proposal to manufacture its vaccine here as currently Russia does not have that much production capacity to export its vaccine to Bangladesh.
As per the proposal, Russia will give the technology and Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies will produce the Sputnik vaccine here, he said.
As alternative source of vaccine supply, Dhaka also has agreed to join a new platform initiated by Beijing to get emergency supply of vaccine.
Apart from Bangladesh and China, the platform -- “Emergency Vaccine Storage Facility for Covid for South Asia” -- comprises Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
According to the DGHS, Bangladesh received a total of one crore and three lakh Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine. The government received 70 lakh vaccine from the Serum Institute of India as per deal and got 33 lakh as gift of Indian government.
As per tripartite deal with Serum Institute of India, Bangladesh is scheduled to get 50 lakh Covishield vaccine every month and three crore vaccine in six month but the Indian vaccine manufacturing institute cannot give the vaccine as per deal.
In this situation, Bangladesh is now working to bring the coronavirus vaccine from other sources, including Russia and China, and trying to manufacture the vaccine in the country.
According to the DGHS, 58,18400 people received first dose of the coronavirus vaccine while 23,26866 people have received second dose of the vaccine till April 25. The nationwide National Vaccination Programme against Covid-19 started since February 7.