The possibility of procuring doses from known sources such as China, Russia and India in near future seems slim
The uncertainty over the procurement of vaccines from abroad continues amid the deteriorating Covid-19 situation across Bangladesh.
Bangladesh resumed its coronavirus vaccination program from Saturday with 1.1 million Sinopharm vaccines gifted by China and 100,000 Pfizer shots collected from the Covax program, an international initiative led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.
Aside from these doses that will cover about 600,000 people, the country is yet to ensure any more vaccines from abroad to continue the vaccination drive.
Bangladesh was in touch with China and Russia to receive 20 million vaccines and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had expressed optimism over the procurement of 15 million Sinopharm vaccines from China and 5 million Sputnik-V shots from Russia by June.
However, the arrival of the vaccines by the end of this month now looks unlikely, according to top officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Now, the officials say that the vaccines may arrive by next month and Dhaka is still negotiating with Beijing and Moscow.
Also read- ED: Vaccines are for everyone
Bangladesh signed a contract with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to procure 30 million AstraZeneca vaccines and has already paid for the shots. However, the SII stopped the supply after providing 700,000 vaccines, creating uncertainty over the country’s vaccination program.
Foreign Ministry officials now believe that it is extremely unlikely that Bangladesh will get vaccines from India anytime soon.
1 million AstraZeneca vaccines may arrive in August
Amidst the uncertainty of nearly 1.5 million people over their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the foreign minister on June 11 announced that the country would receive over 1 million of the shots through the Covax initiative.
Although not enough, the vaccines will cover majority of the 1.5 million people who need their second dose.
These vaccines are unlikely to be available before August, according to multiple sources.