Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said the coronavirus vaccine will be made available to everyone in Bangladesh once the government gets the shots.
“The prime minister has ordered vaccination for everyone and we are moving forward with the plan to provide it to whoever needs it, whenever,” he said while inaugurating the surgery division and an operation theatre of Dhaka’s Sheikh Russel Gastro Liver Institute and Hospital on Thursday.
“The government has made the arrangements to follow her instructions,” Maleque said.
Bangladesh has inked a contract to receive 30 million doses of the vaccine, developed by the Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca, from the Serum Institute of India.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) also assured Bangladesh of giving 680,000 doses for 20 per cent of the population. The government is hoping to get its hand on these vaccines by January-February 2021.
The World Health Organization and GAVI are preparing for several months to distribute the vaccines to people in all corners of the world once the candidates are proved effective and safe, reports bdnews24.com.
After the novel coronavirus emerged in China’s Wuhan in December last year, the global tally of infection has risen to 60.45 million people while 1.42 million have died, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories.
In Bangladesh, the death toll surged to 6,524 after 37 fatalities were registered in the 24 hours to 8 am on Thursday. The caseload reached 456,438 with 2,292 new infections in the same period.
With no effective medicine to treat the disease yet, the whole world is in keen wait for the vaccines.
“Bangladesh, like other countries, will get the vaccine once WHO acquires it. They will initially give doses for 3.0 per cent [of the population],” Maleque said and added that the WHO will provide the remaining 17 per cent later.
The WHO and GAVI are yet to confirm which vaccine candidates they will pick.
The health minister insisted that Bangladesh was in a better position in combating the outbreak compared to many other countries because of “improvement” in health services.
“The health services are up and running even amid the virus outbreak and so are all the work on developing the health ministry,” he said.
Claiming that the outbreak was “still under control”, he called upon everyone to help in keeping it that way.
“The Health Services Division cannot rein in coronavirus infection by itself. Everyone has to take part [in curbing infection] and follow the rules,” he said.