Some 1.1 million doses in stock with 2.41 million people awaiting their second shot
The health authorities in Bangladesh are hoping to secure an alternative source to bring Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines very soon to continue the nationwide inoculation drive.
Around 3.4 million people have completed their two-dose regimen with 88,107 people receiving their second vaccine shot on Sunday.
Some 5.82 million people have received the first jab till now, which means that around 2.41 million have yet to get the second jab.
Only 1.1 million vials are currently in stock after the administration of around 9.22 million doses.
Over 7.24 million people had signed up for immunization against Covid-19 before the authorities halted the registration process in the first week of May.
The Serum Institute of India suspended the export of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in late March, owing to domestic demand at a time when Bangladesh was scheduled to get its third shipment.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has administered around 90,000 vaccine doses each day on average for the last seven working days.
An official involved with the vaccination program said that with the vaccines in hand, the authorities might be able to inoculate people for around 10 days at the current rate.
The vaccination campaign would be interrupted if no vaccine shipment arrived in the next few days, the official forewarned.
Bangladesh recently approved China’s Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use amid uncertainty over further shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India.
Half a million doses of Sinopharm vaccine are supposed to arrive in Bangladesh within May 12, according to Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), on the other hand, expects four million Sputnik V doses to reach Bangladesh this month.
Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general (Planning and Development) of the DGHS, said: “People who got the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as the first dose have to take it as the second dose as well.”
Despite uncertainties over the second dose for some recipients, the authorities were trying their utmost to ensure their vaccination, she added.
“If we cannot administer the second dose after eight weeks, we will do it within 12 weeks,” Dr Meerjady said.
Vaccines would be collected from different sources to ensure that the country’s inoculation campaign continued, the public health expert stated.
Vaccines from China would arrive soon, Dr Meerjady said, adding that discussions were on to bring more vaccines from Russia.
Once the vaccines arrived, administration of the first dose would start again, and there would be no interruption in the program, she said.