Government plans to vaccinate 10.5 to 20 million people from next month, says Zahid Maleque
Bangladesh has decided to procure some 160.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses -– 60 million from China and 100.5 million via World Health Organization (WHO) -– to boost the mass inoculation campaign across the country.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque made the announcement during a meeting at the ministry in Dhaka on Thursday, read an official release.
"Bangladesh will get 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines from China each month...meaning 60 million Sinopharm doses will arrive within three months," he said.
The minister said the government is planning to vaccinate 10.5 to 20 million people in the country each month starting from October.
"As per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, teachers and students will be vaccinated on the priority basis to reopen the educational institutions," he added.
Sources at the Directorate General of Health Service said the country already reached or finalized deals with different countries and companies as part of the procurement process to vaccinate the target 130 million people by 2022.
As of Thursday, Bangladesh collected some 40 million Covid jabs, they said.
Bangladesh has so far approved eight vaccines -- Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, CoronaVac, Pfizer, Covishield, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm -- in its fight against Covid-19.
Around 18.67 million people in the country have so far received their first shots of Covid-19 vaccines. Some 8.2 million received both doses until Wednesday.
Until Thursday morning, the country saw 26,362 deaths from Covid-19, 1,507,116 cases, and 1,437,885 recoveries -- since March last year.
The countrywide Covid-19 restrictions imposed after Eid-ul-Azha were eased soon afterwards from August 11, much to the dismay of public health experts.
They fear the recent downward trend in Covid-19 infections and deaths is only temporary and another wave of the pandemic may be just around the corner.
Health professionals dread that while the infection rate may drop to as low as 10% by mid-September, it will start spiking again after that.
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. The first death was recorded 10 days later.
Until Thursday afternoon, Covid-19 claimed over 4.54 million lives after infecting more than 219.44 million people throughout the world, according to worldometer.
At the same time, more than 196.27 million people also recovered from the disease.