The vaccines were stored at Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) cold storage in Dhaka's Tejgaon area
The first shipment of the much awaited Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Bangladesh as a gift from India on Thursday morning.
India officially handed over the consignment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Padma State Guest House in Dhaka.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami handed over the vaccine to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen.
At the program, Health Minister Zahid Maleque and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam were also present.
“The gift comes as per our commitment to our neighbouring country,” Doraiswami said while speaking on the occasion.
“It will strengthen the existing relations between the two countries,” he said, adding that Bangladesh had received the highest volume of consignment from India due to its large population.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the scheduled consignment of five million doses would arrive on time.
Meanwhile, an additional one and a half million vaccines did not arrive in the country. It was supposed to be part of the first consignment of the private purchase by Beximco Pharmaceuticals ltd.
The foreign minister told Dhaka Tribune that his information about additional vaccine procurement by Beximco was old information.
The arrival of vaccine
An Air India plane carrying the vaccine landed at Dhaka airport at around 11.15am, said officials.
Shahriar Sazzad, chief health officer at Dhaka airport and assistant director of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said the authorities had received 167 boxes.
According to the Cost and Freight (CNF) documents, the boxes of vaccine should contain 200,000 vials or doses of vaccines which would be stored at the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) cold storage in Dhaka's Tejgaon area, he added.
Two cargo trucks left the airport area around 12:30 noon and reached the storage soon after 1pm.
DGHS officials said one cargo truck carried some 60 boxes while another carried the other 107 boxes.
Every box has 1200 vials of vaccine. One vial means 10 doses of vaccine.
Abu Hossain Moinul Hossain at the EPI storage area told reporters that the storage had a capacity of preserving five million vaccines.
To accommodate the vaccines, the storage had freed up two refrigerators. Each of the refrigerators had the capacity of accommodating two million vaccines, he added.
Who will receive the first vaccine?
The health authorities are yet to confirm who will receive the first vaccine and the list of the vaccine receivers on the first day.
Also read - India to start vaccine exports from Wednesday
The health minister did not reply to a question in this regard at a program to inaugurate the establishment process of a new building of the National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT).
Earlier, at a press brief on Wednesday, Health Service Division secretary Abdul Mannan said the authorities were preparing a list of people who would get the vaccine on the first day.
He did not answer when asked if any prominent person was going to get the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal claimed he would take the first shot of vaccine in the country. He made the remark on Thursday following a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement.