Bangladesh is going to receive 1 million 800 shots of AstraZeneca vaccines under the Covax programme, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said yesterday.
"We are getting 1 million 800 AstraZeneca vaccine soon under the Covax program," he said in a message to the media sent through his press official.
Covax, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization, has however not mentioned the source of the AstraZeneca vaccine that will be supplied to Bangladesh.
This comes as good news for Bangladesh as the country has eagerly been waiting for AstraZeneca vaccines because some 15 lakh people who got the first jab have been in uncertainty about whether they would get the second dose in time.
On May 1, the first consignment of 1,00,620 Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 doses was supplied to Bangladesh. Bangladesh is supposed to receive a total of 68 million vaccine doses from the Covax facility, which is still facing shortage and is not able to adequately supply the low-income and developing countries.
Bangladesh has also been facing vaccine shortage since India halted export of AstraZeneca vaccines since March due to massive rise in infections and deaths there.
The Serum Institute of India supplied only seven million of AstraZeneca vaccines although Bangladesh had a contract of receiving 30 million vaccines in six months since January.
India had supplied 3.3 million vaccines as gifts to Bangladesh. With the vaccine shortage, Bangladesh has been requesting different countries for Covid-19 vaccines, including the US, UK, China, Russia, Australia, Canada and European countries.
China has supplied 5 lakh Sinopharm vaccine as a gift and another six lakh will be arriving on June 13.
Bangladesh has also approved buying 1.5 crore vaccine doses from Sinopharm, but with a government official making the price of the vaccine public, the Chinese side is reportedly unhappy.
Its status is not clear until now.
A foreign ministry official said Bangladesh will also discuss buying Sinovax vaccines from China.
Bangladesh is also in discussion with China and Russia on co-production of vaccine in Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister Momen on Thursday said there will be an announcement on co-production of vaccine soon.
Meanwhile, the White House on June 3 announced that it would supply 7 million vaccine doses to 15 Asian countries, including Bangladesh. The amount or the brand of the vaccine has yet to be known officially, but a diplomatic source said it could be either Pfizer or Moderna.