Thursday, June 13, 2024

Vaccination gathers steam | The Daily Star

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The arrival of around 45 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine over two days is set to boost the country’s vaccination campaign.

Bangladesh will receive 25 lakh doses of Moderna’s Covid vaccine in two shipments today and tomorrow under the Covax facility.

The country is also going to receive around 20 lakh doses it procured from China’s Sinopharm in the two days, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque.

“A total of 12 lakh doses will reach Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 11:20pm on Friday and the rest will arrive on Saturday at the same time. Around 11 lakh doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine will arrive at 12:30pm [on Saturday],” the minister said.

Zahid said after getting the vaccines, the country’s vaccination campaign will gain pace as more people will be vaccinated.

He also said the registration process for people to get the vaccine is likely to be reopened.

Bangladesh procured 1.5 crore doses of Sinopharm vaccine and was supposed to get it in three months. As part of that procurement, the country will get 11 lakh doses today and the rest is likely to come tomorrow, said officials.

The government has already resumed vaccination in all district hospitals and 40 centres across the capital with 11 lakh doses of the Sinopharm vaccine gifted by the Chinese government.

The Covax facility is a global initiative coordinated by the World Health Organization, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

It is working to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to Covid vaccines.

Under the facility, Bangladesh was supposed to get 6.8 crore vaccine doses this year, which would cover around 20 percent of its population. But it has so far received only one consignment of 1.06 lakh doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

On March 2 this year, Covax informed the government that it would provide Bangladesh with 1.09 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by May, but it did not deliver.

The country has so far inoculated less than three percent of its population. Its vaccination campaign, which started on February 7, stumbled due to suspension of vaccine supply by the Serum Institute of India amid a surge in cases and deaths in that country.

Bangladesh and Serum had an agreement that the latter would ship three crore shots of the Oxford vaccine to Bangladesh in phases between January and June.

Serum delivered the first consignment of 50 lakh doses in January, but shipped only 20 lakh the following month. No shipment has been made since. Besides, India sent 3.3 million doses as gift to Bangladesh.

Amid a fast depleting vaccine stock, Bangladesh suspended administering the first dose of the vaccine on April 26. The registration process for vaccination was suspended nine days later. 


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