Japan is planning to send another 1.4 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh this month under the global COVID-19 vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX.
Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Ito Naoki gave the information while handing over the third shipment of 616,780 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh officials on Tuesday, reports bdnews24.com.
A Cathay Airways jet carrying the vaccines arrived at Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport at 3:15 pm on Tuesday, the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka said in a statement.
With the third shipment, the island nation has so far sent a total of 1,643,300 jabs to Bangladesh.
“We'll provide Bangladesh three million doses of vaccine. We're wholeheartedly trying to dispatch the rest of the vaccines within this month,” said Japan’s envoy.
“We are delighted by imagining the elated faces of 1.5 million people who have been waiting a long time to get the second dose of the vaccine,” Naoki said while highlighting his country’s efforts to help mitigate the vaccine shortage in Bangladesh.
He outlined Japan's hopes that fair, equitable and comprehensive access to vaccines will be ensured and reiterated its support for Bangladesh in the fight against COVID-19.
“We hope our Bangladeshi friends will have vaccine jabs as soon as possible. We're fighting the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic together and we're standing by you as friends."
Bangladesh began its mass COVID-19 vaccination drive with AstraZeneca shots from the Serum Institute of India in February.
Bangladesh reached an agreement with the organisation for the purchase of 30 million doses, but, after the first 7 million doses arrived, India halted exports as it struggled to deal with the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. The Indian government had also sent 3.2 million doses as gifts before shipments were cut off.
Bangladesh then turned to China to procure more vaccines. It also received shipments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines under the COVAX programme.
The government resumed administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday after a long delay due to shortages. As of Aug 1, more than 1.52 million people were waiting to get their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to government data.