Govt approves use of Russian vaccine

4m doses to arrive by May

Staff Correspondent

28 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh will get 40 lakh doses of Russian vaccine Sputnik V by May as the drug administration has authorised emergency use of the Covid-19 jab.

“We have approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine today. Now there is no barrier to importing and using this vaccine. We hope we will get the vaccine by May,” Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, Director General of Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) said.

The DGDA chief came up with the information while addressing a press briefing at his office on Tuesday.

The approval was given by the Committee on Emergency Public Health Medicines, Experimental Medicines, Vaccines and Medical Equipment formed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Sputnic V is the second Covid-19 vaccine approved by the DGDA. Earlier on January 8, the authority approved Oxfor-AstraZeneca (Covishiled) vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

The government started the Covid-19 vaccination programme with the Covishield vaccine on February 7.

However, in January, the government allowed the import of 1,000 doses of Russian Covid-19 "Sputnik V" vaccine for the Russian nationals working at Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh.

Replying to a question, Mahbubur Rahman said the government will import the Sputnik V vaccine and a committee has been formed to this end.

He said 40 lakh doses of the Sputnik V vaccine is likely to be imported within May.

Mentioning that Popular, Incepta and Healthcare pharmaceuticals have the capacity to manufacture vaccine locally, the DGDA chief said Incepta has already started talks with Russia to manufacture the vaccine in Bangladesh.

Vaccines could be produced in the country through technology sharing or will be brought in bulk and final finishing will be made here, he added.

“We are talking with some other countries about the vaccine. We are also working to approve Sinopharma vaccine of China. A decision may come soon in this regard,” Mahbubur Rahman said.

In the wake of uncertainty over getting the vaccine from Serum Institute, the government on 20 April formed a committee to send recommendations to the Prime Minister's Office by Monday on using alternatives to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for continuing the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The committee recommended that vaccines Sinopharm of China and Sputnik V of Russia can be used as alternatives to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.