Moderna Vaccines from Covax: 2.5m doses arrive within 10 days
Bangladesh will get 2.5 million doses of Moderna Covid vaccine within 10 days under the Covax facility, a global vaccine alliance.
Covax has written to the government, saying the shots will be sent as part of its commitment.
This will be the second consignment of Covid jabs from the vaccine alliance.
"Covax has recently informed us about the Moderna vaccine shots. We will receive those in seven to 10 days," Health Minister Zahid Maleque told The Daily Star yesterday.
The doses will help intensify the ongoing vaccination campaign, he said.
The minister also mentioned that the first shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine shots that Bangladesh purchased from China will arrive in the first week of the next month.
Bangladesh is yet to approve Moderna Covid vaccine for emergency use, but health officials yesterday said it would get authorisation soon.
The Covax facility is a global initiative coordinated by the World Health Organization, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
It is working to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to Covid vaccines.
Under the facility, Bangladesh was supposed to get this year 6.8 crore vaccine doses, which would cover around 20 percent of its population. But it has so far received only one consignment of 1.06 lakh doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
On March 2 this year, Covax informed the government that it would provide Bangladesh with 1.09 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by May. But it didn't deliver those.
Meanwhile, the Finance Division has disbursed funds for purchasing the first batch of Chinese Covid vaccines, said officials.
The Division allocated the funds following the Health Services Division's proposal for buying the vaccines from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products Company Ltd.
"We will get the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine in the first week of next month," the health minister said.
Asked about the price and quantity of the jabs, Zahid declined to answer.
The government said it would buy 1.5 crore Sinopharm vaccine shots and those would arrive in three instalments.
Bangladesh has so far inoculated less than three percent of its population. Its vaccination campaign, which started on February 7, stumbled due to suspension of vaccine supply from the Serum Institute of India.
Following a surge in both deaths and infections in India, Serum failed to ship the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine shots that Bangladesh purchased from it.
As per an agreement, Bangladesh was supposed to receive three crore shots of the vaccine in phases from January to June.
Serum delivered the first 50 lakh doses in January, but shipped only 20 lakh shots the following month. No shipment has been received since then.
In the meantime, the country received 3.3 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses as gift from India.
Bangladesh suspended administering the first dose of Covid vaccine on April 26 due to the shortage of jabs. The vaccine registration process was also halted on May 5.
The government resumed administering the first dose on June 19 on a limited scale with around 11 lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccines it received as gift from China.