The Financial Express

Bangladesh ready for vaccine roll-out as regulator approves use of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses

| Updated: January 26, 2021 21:00:17

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Reuters file photo used only for representation Reuters file photo used only for representation

The Directorate General of Drug Administration has approved the vaccination of the masses with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses from the Serum Institute of India.

“Samples from every vaccine lot have been thoroughly examined. Vaccination drives will begin tomorrow using these doses,” Maj Gen Mahbubur Rahman, director general of DGDA, said on Tuesday.

An Air India plane flew the vaccine shots to Dhaka on Thursday. The vials were then transferred to a Beximco Pharmaceuticals warehouse in Tongi. From there, vaccines samples were sent to DGDA’s drug-testing laboratories.

Beximco Pharma, the sole distributor of the drug, will send the doses across the country for distribution, subject to approval from the government, reports bdnews24.com.

“The vaccine was developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca. The top agency of the United Kingdom approved its use. On the World Health Organization’s scale, Serum Institute of India is a world-class vaccine developer,” Rahman said.

“India began using the vaccine on January 16. The documents from India were also analysed.”

Beximco struck a deal with Serum Institute on November 5 to import 30 million doses of the Covishield vaccine, as it is known, to supply the drug to the government. The first shipment of imported doses contains five million vials.

Bangladesh also received two million doses of the same vaccine from India for free, which prompted the authorities to begin vaccination earlier than they had originally planned.

Around 400-500 people will get the first vaccine shots on January 27-28. The nationwide vaccination will begin on February 8.

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