Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said Bangladesh will get 1 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine by August under the COVAX facility.
"We’ll receive 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from COVAX by August. We’ve received a letter from the World Health Organization (WHO) in this regard," he said while addressing a press briefing at his ministry.“We’re making efforts to procure more vaccines. We’ve already sent necessary papers to China after signing those to get the Sinopharm jab. We’re now waiting for their response to how many vaccine shots they will provide for us and when,” the minister said.
About the delay in getting vaccine from China as per the deal, he said the country was unhappy with the Bangladesh government at the disclosure of the vaccine price as Bangladesh earlier signed a non-disclosure agreement with it.
Zahid Maleque said the government also continued discussion with Russia to get Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. “We’ve reached a consensus about the vaccine procurement. Now, we’ll talk about the quantity and delivery time of the vaccine. A decision may come in this regard at a meeting today (Wednesday).”
He said the government is also trying to bring vaccines from different other countries, including the United States.
About manufacturing vaccines in Bangladesh, the health minister said the government has given proposals to all the vaccine-developing countries, including China and Russia, in this regard. “If the private sector manufactures vaccines here, we’re happy. The government is also trying to manufacture vaccines here as we’ve already held some meetings in this regard,” he added.
Mentioning that the administering of the Sinopharm vaccine will start in hospitals of Dhaka city on Saturday, Zahid Maleque said 5 lakh people will be inoculated initially with the first dose of the vaccine. “We have 11 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses in hand. We’ll give vaccine to 5 lakh people and the rest will be kept for the second dose,” he added.He said the Sinopharm vaccine will be administered to people who have already registered. “The government health workers, police personnel, students of medical colleges, MATS, nursing institutes, resident university students, officials and employees engaged in development projects of the government, migrant workers and cleaning workers of DSCC and DNCC will get priority.”