A shipment of 600,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses will arrive in Dhaka on Sunday afternoon.
Two planes of Bangladesh Air Force departed for China at 10 am to pick up the doses of the vaccine, the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate said in a statement on Sunday.
“The planes are scheduled to land in Dhaka at 5:30 pm.”The vaccine, one of two main Chinese coronavirus vaccines that have been given to hundreds of millions of people in China and elsewhere, is the first developed by a non-Western country to win the backing of the World Health Organization.
Bangladesh started its mass vaccination campaign in February using COVISHIELD, the vaccine developed by the UK's University of Oxford and Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca.
Despite an agreement to buy 30 million jabs, its manufacturer Serum Institute of India had sent only seven million doses in two shipments before India froze the export of the vaccine to tackle its own devastating crisis, reports bdnews24.com.
It prompted Bangladesh to halt the first dosing of the vaccine, while many who received the first shot were not given the second one.
In a bid to mitigate the crisis, the government reached out to China and Russia for vaccines. China has already sent 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine as a gift.
Later, China said it would gift another 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to Bangladesh. The latest coronavirus vaccine developed by Sinovac Life Sciences Company has been approved for emergency use in Bangladesh as the second vaccine from China.
Aside from purchasing 15 million doses of the vaccine, the government is also discussing the possibility of producing the Chinese vaccine in Bangladesh. The South Asian nation is also in talks with Russia over the import and co-production of the Sputnik V vaccine.
Besides the Chinese government's initiatives, the Chinese Communist Party is also sending various medical equipment to the ruling Awami League, according to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, a portion of which will be brought back alongside the vaccine shipment on Jun 13.