Astrazeneca Jabs: EU to give 1m doses
The European Union will supply one million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Bangladesh under Covax initiative by the end of this month, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said.
"Our ambassador in Geneva informed us that European Union will give us 10 lakh AstraZeneca vaccine jabs. It is expected to arrive home at the end of this month," he told reporters at his residence in the capital yesterday.
Besides, Japan will also provide AstraZeneca vaccine, which is expected to reach the country next week.
"Japan's foreign minister assured us of it when we spoke to him. They are giving vaccines to other countries and we said why can't we get it. He said they will give us," Momen said.
However, Japan did not declare the amount. Momen said he is expecting 2.5 million doses.
Bangladesh faced a shortage of vaccine after India halted export in March.
Earlier, Serum Institute of India had supplied Bangladesh with 7 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine of the contacted 30 million. India also gifted Bangladesh 3.3 million jabs.
China gifted 11 lakh Sinopharm vaccine jabs, and US supplied 1.06 lakh Pfizer and 2.5 million Moderna vaccine doses to Bangladesh. Besides, China supplied 2 million of the contracted 15 million Sinopharm jabs.
Bangladesh is also negotiating with China's Sinovac company to buy vaccines, Momen said.
Besides, Bangladesh and China are working for co-production of vaccines in Bangladesh.
The country is also at the final stage of entering a deal with Russia for importing Sputnic V vaccine.
"We think we will not face any problem in getting vaccines from now on. So, the vaccination drive will continue," Momen said.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has called for an urgent action to increase Covid-19 vaccine supplies for Bangladesh as hospitals reach capacity and oxygen supplies run short across the country.
The deadly Delta Covid-19 variant is spreading fast in urban and rural areas across Bangladesh stretching the entire health sector beyond its limits. Hospitals in areas bordering India are experiencing a sharp rise in infections and deaths, IFRC said in a statement yesterday.
In the capital Dhaka, around 78 percent of infections have been identified as caused by the Delta strain. Nearly one in three people (29 percent) tested positive for Covid, pointing to much higher infection rates across the country.
However, only around 3 percent of people in Bangladesh are fully vaccinated compared with half the population of countries such as the UK and the US.
Feroz Salah Uddin, secretary general of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said they have ramped up ambulance services and efforts to help reduce death and suffering due to this dangerous virus.
"Our volunteers are working alongside health authorities to accelerate vaccinations, but a crippling shortage in supply is hurting the progress," he said.
Sanjeev Kafely, head of IFRC Bangladesh Delegation, said: "It's critical that richer countries share more vaccines with Bangladesh in the coming days and weeks to help avoid the horrors caused by Covid-19 in India."
"Covid-19 is having devastating impacts on millions of people in Bangladesh, with many losing their incomes and livelihoods. Mass vaccination is the key to ending the spiralling deaths, infections and hardships caused by this virus in Bangladesh and everywhere around the world," he said, seeking vital funding for its global emergency Covid-19 appeal.