Bangladesh plans to administer China COVID vaccine from next week

The government has plans to begin administering next week the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine sent by China as gift.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said at a news briefing on Monday that the health workers on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus will get the doses starting May 25 or 26.

The Directorate General of Health Services had earlier said students of medical and nursing colleges, and medical technologists would get the gift doses. 

Maleque also said there had been significant progress in talks to bring vaccines from other countries.

“You will know when things are finalised. We may be able to give you good news soon.”

Bangladesh is buying Chinese and Russian vaccines after India halted export to tackle its own crisis.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently said Bangladesh will buy 10 million doses from different sources.

The government has also approved a proposal to let local firms produce foreign vaccines. But it will take time for Bangladesh to go into production of the vaccines, Hasina said.

Some media, however, on Sunday reported that a Bangladeshi firm got the permission to produce the Sinopharm vaccine, prompting the Directorate General of Drug Administration to clarify that it was yet to approve the production by a local company.

The health minister said the government was now trying to buy vaccines because it is the fastest way to get the doses.

“I think it’s not possible to produce vaccines fast even if we have existing facilities. And it will take more time if we don’t have the facilities.”