Bangladesh to administer second dose of Covid vaccine from Apr 7

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The administering of the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh will begin on April 7 as per the guideline of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Tuesday.

The minister made the disclosure while talking to reporters at the secretariat.

“Some 80 million (eight crore) doses will be needed for 40 million people above 40. As per the procurement deal, we’ve received 5.0  million doses of the vaccine -- 2.0 million came from India as gift and 2.0 million doses arrived on Monday night,” he said.

“Though we were scheduled to receive 5.0 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute this month, we’ve got only 2.0  million doses. We’ve talked to the authorities concerned and they said they’ll increase the supply next month,” the minister added.

The vaccination drive is going on at 3,000 booths of 1,010 centres across the country.

As per the Prime Minister’s directive, all the teachers will soon be vaccinated against Covid-19, said the minister adding that the teachers between 18 to 40 years of age will be allowed to receive the vaccine.

On January 25, Bangladesh received the first consignment of 5.0 million doses of Covishield, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII).

The vaccine doses were imported from India by the government through Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

On January 21, Dhaka received 2.0 million doses of Covid vaccine as the Indian government sent the jabs as a gift to Bangladesh.

In November last year, the government of Bangladesh, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, and India’s Serum Institute entered into a tripartite agreement to buy 30 million doses of Covishield, The vaccine was developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma giants AstraZeneca.

Under the agreement, the Bangladesh government will pay SII for the 30 million doses of the vaccine while Beximco Pharma will receive a separate fee for its distribution role.

Beximco Pharma is the exclusive distributor of the vaccine in Bangladesh and it will be responsible for maintaining the cold chain, import, storage, and delivery of the vaccine.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was proven to be safe with no major side-effects reported throughout human trials. It generates strong antibody and T-cells response for long-term immunity against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

In June 2020, SII signed an agreement with AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation and GAVI to produce 100 crore doses of AZD1222 under the brand name Covishield, mainly for supply to developing countries, reports UNB.