Bangladesh to get over 1m AstraZeneca vaccine doses under COVAX

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-06-11 14:21:39 BdST

Bangladesh is set to receive more than 1 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine under the international vaccine-sharing platform COVAX.

Announcing the development on Friday, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the consignment under the programme co-led by the World Health Organization and global vaccine alliance GAVI will arrive 'soon'.

Bangladesh started its mass vaccination campaign last February using COVISHIELD, the vaccine developed by the UK's University of Oxford and Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca.

Despite an agreement to buy 30 million jabs, its manufacturer Serum Institute of India had only sent 7 million doses in two shipments before India froze exports to tackle its own devastating crisis.

It prompted the government to halt the first dosing of the vaccine while many who received the first shot were not given the second one.

The government subsequently started scrambling for the Chinese and Russian vaccines. However, there is no alternative for those who have already taken the first dose of the COVISHIELD vaccine.

The first dose of the vaccine has been administered to over 5.8 million people since the start of the immunisation campaign, according to the health directorate. However, another 11.6 million jabs are needed to provide the second dose.

The government currently has 12 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at its disposal. Generally, 1 percent of vaccines are thought to be wasted during the transportation and storage process.

In order to fully vaccinate those who have received the first dose, another 1.54 million jabs will be needed.