Till Monday, 2,308,157 people received the first jab around the country
The government is set to start administering second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from April 7, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said.
The health minister disclosed the information while addressing reporters at the Health Ministry on Tuesday.
He also said the Serum Institute of India had only sent two million doses of the vaccine in the second shipment, instead of the contractual five million doses.
“We have spoken with SII on the matter and they said they will increase supply next month,” the minister added.
According to the health minister, over 2.3 million people have received their first doses of the vaccine and around 3.65 million people have registered for vaccination.
“The SII, Indian government and indeed the entire world is under immense pressure. This vaccine is going to many different countries and there is huge demand,” he said, mentioning that some local pharmaceutical companies have applied for approval to supply the vaccine.
“We are thinking about them [local pharmaceutical companies] and holding discussions at various levels. We will take a decision after discussion with the high-ups of the government,” the health minister added.
Regarding plans for vaccination ahead of the reopening of universities, Zahid Maleque said: “Teachers will be immunized first. The government will decide on the students soon
Till Monday, a total 1,518,715 men and 789,442 women had been vaccinated in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh received the first batch of five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on January 25. Earlier, the Indian government sent two million doses of the vaccine to Bangladesh as a gift on January 20
The country received the second batch of two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from India in the early hours of Tuesday.
On November 5 last year, Bangladesh signed a deal with SII for the procurement of 30 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. As per contract, Serum Institute will supply five million doses each month.
Bangladesh began its nationwide vaccination efforts on February 7
Newly received vaccines will be kept in stock, for now
The two million doses supplied in the second batch from SII will be kept in stock for the time being, health officials have said.
“We already have enough doses to meet our vaccination target for the first month, so there is no need to use the new shipment immediately,” said Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director General Dr ABM Khurshid Alam.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Chief Health Officer Dr Shahriar Sajjad confirmed that Bangladesh had received a total of nine million doses from India, so far.
The special flight carrying the second shipment of the vaccine landed at the Dhaka airport at 12:25am on Tuesday. The shipment was received by Beximco Pharmaceuticals, who took it to their Gazipur warehouse.
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla recently announced that their shipments to foreign governments may be delayed as they had been directed to prioritize India’s domestic requirements.
However, Indian health authorities said that they have not given any such directions to SII, and other countries would eventually get the vaccine but in smaller consignments.