‘WHO has promised to provide us with all the support we need to manufacture vaccines locally’
Bangladesh will manufacture Covid-19 vaccines and export them after meeting domestic demand, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said on a note of optimism.
The minister was speaking at an event in Dhaka’s South Keraniganj area on Thursday, according to media reports.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has promised to provide us with all the support we need to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines locally,” Maleque said.
In April, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved in principle the production of vaccines developed by foreign companies through local firms.
Later in August, the government signed a tripartite agreement with China’s Sinopharm and the local drug manufacturer Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd on the co-production of Covid-19 shots.
Referring to the inoculation of some eight million people in a day on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s birthday, Maleque remarked that many countries had yet to reach such a milestone in vaccination. He hoped that Bangladesh would be able to top that number soon.
The government had so far spent around Tk20,000 crore for procuring Covid-19 vaccines, he noted.
“The prime minister has said that no matter how much it costs, everyone in Bangladesh will be vaccinated,” Maleque added.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed, Directorate General of Health Services Director General Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, among others, were present at the event.
Around 35.39 million people in the country have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Of them, some 17.62 million have taken both doses, according to DGHS data aggregated till Wednesday.