The diluent of the vaccine is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on Monday night
Bangladesh’s health authorities are preparing to start administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19 after June 13, as the diluent needed to administer the vaccine is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on Monday night, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said.
The health minister was speaking to reporters after attending a program on the National Vitamin A-Plus Campaign on Monday.
“Another consignment of 600,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on June 13. The Pfizer vaccine will also be administered immediately afterwards," he said.
“The diluent of the vaccine will arrive tonight [Monday], and inoculation through the Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines will take place simultaneously,” he added.
On June 1, Bangladesh received the first consignment of 100,620 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, under the Covax scheme run by WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The vaccine, the minister said, would be administered to people who had already registered for their jabs.
However, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) chief ABM Khurshid Alam claimed that he was unaware of the development as he had not been informed about the date for the Pfizer vaccine shots to be administered.
“I was not supposed to attend this program. So, I can’t say anything about the progress regarding Pfizer vaccine jabs,” he added.
But, attesting to the health minister’s remarks, some DGHS officials said the administration of the vaccine was likely to begin next week—but the date was yet to be fixed.
DGHS Line Director Md Shamsul Haque, who is also the secretary general of the Covid-19 Vaccine Management Taskforce Committee, could not confirm the date.
DGHS sources said the Pfizer vaccine would be injected at four centres of Dhaka city: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Sheikh Rasel Gastro Liver Institute and Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital and National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital.
Deal with Sinopharm for 10.5 vaccines soon
Confirming the shipment of the second consignment of Sinopharm vaccines on June 13, Zahid Maleque said that the authorities were all set to sign a deal with the Chinese firm soon to get 10.5 million doses of the vaccine in three installments in three consecutive months.
Earlier, the country received the first consignment of 500,000 doses of the vaccine on May 12.
He added that the Bangladesh government was in discussion with another Chinese vaccine producer, Sinovac, on getting more vaccines.
“The Chinese firm is keen to provide us with the vaccine and also jointly produce it in Bangladesh,” he added.
The discussion for a contract over purchasing Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine was at the final stage, according to the minister.