500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday
Hours after the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Bangladesh, the health authorities have revealed who will get the first shots from this batch.
In a bulletin on Wednesday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said medical college and nursing college students along with medical technologists will get this vaccine first, reports Bangla Tribune.
“We want to give this vaccine from China to this certain group of people. The size of their population is not so big,” said DGHS Director (disease control) Dr Nazmul Islam.
“However, we won’t inoculate them in a day; rather they will receive the jabs gradually and in groups. If so, we’ll be able to continue our vaccination campaign for a longer period over up to four days,” he added.
A Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) plane landed at BAF Base Bangabandhu in Kurmitola, Dhaka from China with 500,000 doses of Sinophram vaccine for Covid-19 and AD syringes early in the morning.
Later at noon, Li Jiming, the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, formally handed over the vaccines to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at state guest house Padma in the capital.
The Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
Also, the World Health Organization recently listed the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for it to be rolled out globally.
The vaccine has an estimated efficacy of 79% for all age groups.
During Wednesday’s bulletin, DGHS Director Nazmul also said that talks were underway to get a commercial supply of the vaccine from China.
“I think we’ll get a speedy response from China as it is a friend country. If that happens, we hope to resume the first dose vaccine campaign that stopped recently. But the process involved will start after the Eid-ul-Fitr. So, we’ll have enough time,” he added.
China sent the vaccine to Bangladesh received as a gift at a time when the latter’s vaccine stock is running short and the country is keeping its efforts on globally to get access to enough inoculation.
The vaccine supply fell short in late March after the Serum Institute of India (SII) suspended the export of its Covishield vaccine, when Bangladesh was scheduled to get its third consignment, to tackle the record-breaking Covid-19 cases and deaths in India.
Bangladesh was supposed to get 30 million vaccines from SII in six instalments within six months via Beximco Pharmaceuticals.
However, the country received only seven million vaccines in two instalments. Besides, India has gifted Bangladesh with 3.3 million vaccines.
Sinopharm, which has two Covid-19 vaccines approved in China, has supplied over 200 million doses at home and abroad, and Sinovac has shipped over 300 million doses of its shot worldwide, including at home.