Health Minister hopes 20 million Sinopharm jabs will arrive in October
The government has decided to procure 60 million more Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine doses from China to ramp up its inoculation efforts across Bangladesh.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque made the announcement during the inauguration of a Covid-19 field hospital at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in Dhaka on Saturday.
Of these doses, 20 million will hopefully arrive in Bangladesh in October and 20 million in November, he added.
The minister said that the rest of the jabs will arrive in phases provided that the Chinese company keeps its promise.
“The prime minister has green lighted this deal and we’ll sign it soon,” he said.
Till now, Bangladesh has received seven million Sinopharm vaccine doses under urchase agreement of 30 million.
Besides, China has also sent 1.1 million Sinopharm doses as a gift in two consignments in July.
The health minister said they plan to bring all the rural areas of the country under the mass vaccination drive. “At least 75% of the patients [hospitalized] in Dhaka have come from the villages and 90% of them are unvaccinated.”
“Most of the people in urban areas have received the vaccine. But the elderly people in the rural areas are yet to get them. We are taking the vaccine to them,” he added.
Regarding the Covid field hospital in the capital, the minister said, “The hospital has been launched with 357 beds, including 40 ICU ones. Besides, central oxygen lines have been installed for the remaining beds.”
"It will be upgraded to 1000-bed ones in phases."
People will get all Covid treatment facilities at the hospital and new patients and patients in critical condition will be admitted there, said Maleque.
Noting that Bangladesh has been experiencing a devastating Covid situation, the minister said there is also a crisis of ICU beds. There are only 17,000 general beds for treating Covid patients across the country which have already been occupied, the minister added.
Besides, hospitals are also providing dengue treatment due to a surge in dengue cases alongside Covid patients, he said.
Till Friday afternoon, more than 4.34 million people across the country had received both doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and over 1.47 million were waiting for the second dose.
Till the same time, 92,248 people received both doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and more than 3.22 million people were waiting for the second dose.
Additionally, until Friday afternoon, 7,038 people received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 43,217 people were waiting for the second dose.
Besides, more than 1.1 million people received the first dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Bangladesh reported its first three cases of Covid-19, a severe acute respiratory illness caused by a strain of coronavirus later named Sars-CoV-2, on March 8 last year and the first death 10 days later.
Until Friday morning, the country had recorded 22,150 deaths and 1,335,260 cases.
Until Saturday afternoon, the fast-spreading novel coronavirus claimed more than 4,292,000 lives after infecting over 202,490,500 people across the world, according to worldometer.
However, at the same time, more than 181,979,100 people recovered from the disease.