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Covid-19: Who will get Pfizer's jabs first?

  • Published at 08:17 pm May 22nd, 2021
Pfizer vaccine Covid
File photo: Vials labelled 'Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine' and a syringe are seen in front of the Pfizer logo in this illustration taken February 9, 2021 Reuters

Bangladesh is likely to receive 106,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on June 2

Residents of Dhaka, who are waiting for their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine after registering with the national vaccine registration platform Surokkha, will get the Pfizer-BioNTech shots once its first consignment arrives, the chief of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has said. 

Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general (DG) of the DGHS, said: “Citizens in Dhaka, who have already completed the registration for vaccination, but did not get the dose, will get the vaccines.”

The DGHS chief had earlier said the Pfizer vaccine had to be stored in very cold temperature (at -70 degree Celsius), for which there are very limited facilities in Dhaka.  

The authorities have decided to administer the vaccine in Dhaka.

“Unlike in the past, the Pfizer vaccine will be injected in groups so that the recipients can be given the second shot in a similar fashion,” he said. 

Bangladesh is supposed to receive 106,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on June 2. This happens at a time when registration for vaccination in the country has been suspended since the first week of May. 

On April 25, the government suspended administering the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by India's Serum Institute, just a day after India said no more vaccine doses would be shipped to Bangladesh anytime soon. 

Also Read - Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka nearly out of Covid vaccines

It is expected that the first dose inoculation wil resume on Tuesday through the Sinopharm Covid vaccine that has come from China. 

China handed over 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh as a special gift on May 12. Beijing has said it will send another 600,000 doses of the vaccine to Dhaka.

Hours after the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Bangladesh, the health authorities said medical college and nursing college students along with medical technologists would get the vaccine first.

Bangladesh has about one million doses of AstraZeneca and Sinopharm jabs, and is expecting the 106,000 Pfizer shots, but all would be gone in “days,” Khurshid Alam told AFP on Friday.

DGHS sources have said they have already received the required quantity of special syringes needed for administering the vaccine. Khurshid Alam, however, could not confirm the report.

Vaccination may be paused until new consignment arrives 

The DGHS chief said if the new consignment of Covid 19 vaccine did not arrive soon, the health authorities would have to halt the vaccination program that was launched on February 7.

Bangladesh started administering the second dose of Covishield vaccine - the AstraZeneca vaccine Serum Institute is producing - on April 8. According to sources, the inoculation of those awaiting their second dose would continue throughout the month with the remaining stock of the vaccine.

Also Read - Bangladesh makes desperate diplomatic efforts to get Covid-19 vaccines

“We may continue with the second dose in the seven to eight more working days left in May. If we don’t get a new consignment of vaccines within the next few days, we might have to halt the vaccination program entirely,” Khurshid Alam said.

The vaccination campaign, he said, had been launched with a plan that the program could easily be implemented till the time vaccines from Covax facilities from Gavi arrived in the country.    

According to the DGHS, nearly 5.82 million people have received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, of whom more than  3.93 million have also received the second dose, according to the daily DGHS Covid-19 bulletin on Saturday.

Bangladesh is currently vaccinating people aged 40 and above and selective frontline workers in the country.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the government was making its best efforts to get vaccines by connecting with a multiple number of countries - the US, China, Canada, Russia and the UK - apart from keeping up its request to India to meet Bangladesh's urgent needs.

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