The government suspended administering the first doses of Covid-19 vaccine due to a crisis of supply on April 25 this year
The nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which stalled due to a suspension of supply back in April, is going to resume on June 19.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque made the announcement during an event in Dhaka on Monday.
He said since the Covid-19 situation was worsening again in the country, the focus had to be more on prevention right now.
That is why, the health authorities will resume the vaccination with the vaccine it has in stock right now, he added.
“Covid-19 infections are on the rise again. We have to remain vigilant,” the health minister said. “If the cases continue to rise, healthcare will be affected, since the number of hospital beds is limited. We must focus on preventing the spread.”
Earlier on Monday, health directorate chief Dr ABM Khurshid Alam also said that they were going to resume administering the Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccine from next week.
People who have already registered for Covid-19 vaccines will receive the vaccines, and they will receive texts from the health authorities informing them when to get vaccinated, the DGHS director general added.
When asked about the resumption of the vaccine registration process, Dr Khurshid Alam said: “It will resume once we receive the next consignment of purchased vaccines.”
Bangladesh started its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination program on February 7 by administering Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
The country has so far received seven million Covishield doses through its contract. Besides, India gave Bangladesh 3.3 million doses as a gift.
However, on April 25, the government suspended administering the first doses with Covishield, just a day after India said no more vaccine doses would be shipped to Bangladesh anytime soon as the Covid-19 situation worsened there.
As the SII has been unable to provide the number of doses they promised, many people are waiting for second jabs after receiving their first.
Bangladesh has a little over 129,000 doses of Covishield, in stock as of Sunday, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
As the country reached out to several allies for Covid-19 vaccines, The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) approved emergency use of US’s Pfizer-BioNtech, China’s Sinopharm, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines.
On May 12, China sent 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to Bangladesh as a gift.
The health authorities administered the Sinopharm vaccine to 500 medical college students on May 25.
The Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) administered the Sinopharm vaccine to over 450 Chinese citizens as well.
On May 31, the country also received 100,620 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under the Covax facility run by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.
On Sunday, Bangladesh received another 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China, also as a gift.
To tackle the vaccine shortage, Bangladesh also sought two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the US, once the latter announced on April 26 that it would share the vaccine with the world.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh would receive over a million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Covax soon.