Administering first-jab vaccine set to resume
The authorities are going to resume administering the first shot of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of this week, about a couple of months after its suspension due to a shortage of jabs.
Both the Chinese Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccine jabs will be given to people as the first shot, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told The Daily Star yesterday.
Bangladesh has already received 11 lakh Sinopharm vaccine shots from China as gift and 106,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine under the COVAX facility, a global vaccine-sharing initiative.
"Those who have already registered for vaccine will get the shots. Sinopharm vaccine is already being administered to medical students as first shot. And by the end of this week, those will be administered to people across the country," the minister said.
If the authorities fail to start administering the jabs this week, they will begin it early next week, he said mentioning that the doses have to be transported to different districts from the capital.
Zahid also said they will not administer all the 11 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses as first dose like they did in case of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
"We do not want to face the same problem again. We will administer five lakh vaccine jabs as first dose and the rest will be kept for second dose."
The second dose of Sinopharm vaccine will be administered three weeks after the first one.
On May 12, Bangladesh received five lakh Sinopharm vaccine jabs as gift from China.
The authorities have already started administering those to healthcare students on a priority basis.
Yesterday, two Bangladesh Air Force aircraft brought another six lakh Sinopharm vaccine shots from China.
Earlier on May 31, Bangladesh received 106,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine. The jabs will be administered at four vaccination centres in the capital as those need to be kept at a very low temperature in storages that are not available outside the capital.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration approved the emergency use of Pfizer vaccine on May 27.
The government started nationwide mass inoculation against Covid on February 7 with a target of vaccinating all citizens aged 18 and above in phases.
But the authorities halted administering the first dose of vaccine on April 26 due to the shortage of jabs. More than a week later, the administration of the second dose was also suspended at all the centres across the country.
The inoculation campaign stumbled after Serum Institute of India failed to provide the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid a surge in virus deaths and cases in that country.
As per an agreement, Bangladesh was supposed to receive three crore shots of the vaccine from Serum in six months.
Serum delivered 50 lakh doses in the first consignment in January, but shipped only 20 lakh shots the following month. The country has not received any shipment from the company since then.