Around 54 lakh more doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Dhaka from China in the small hours of Saturday.
A regular flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines landed at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 12.44 am with the vaccine consignment, Dr Shahriar Sazzad, in-charge of the airport health camp, said.
The consignment is actually part of the commercial purchase from China, said Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka, Hualong Yan.
This is so far the second-largest batch of vaccine doses commercially purchased by Bangladesh from China.
“As a strategic partner of Bangladesh, China will always remain the most reliable supplier whatever and whenever the country needs,” Hualong said.
With the new doses, China will have supplied over two crore doses of Sinopharm to Bangladesh commercially. Another 2.4 million doses have also been received from China as bilateral assistance.
Bangladesh has so far received Sinopharm vaccine doses from China as a gift, under COVAX facility, and commercial purchase.
According to the schedule received from the company producing Sinopharm, two crore shots will be available every month from October and six crore from December, she added.
On August 16, Bangladesh, China and Incepta Vaccine Limited signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the co-production of the Sinopharm vaccine in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is now administering vaccines developed by four companies—AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Sinopharm.
The government has administered at least 33,699,773 doses of the four Covid vaccines – enough to have immunized around 10% of the country’s population, assuming every person needs two doses.
Bangladesh has administered 10,990,721 shots of Sinopharm as the first dose and 5,784,265 as the second dose so far.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the country has recorded 1,527,215 infections and 26,832 deaths, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
The Covid vaccines cannot offer 100% protection but when more people are jabbed there is less opportunity for the virus to infect and spread, say experts.
Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalisations, and death; and with the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.