Bangladesh will get the first phase of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from an Indian pharmaceutical company by Jan. 25, a Health Ministry official confirmed Monday.
“We will bring 5 million doses of the vaccine this month as the first phase and will distribute it all to the people,” the ministry's health service director Dr. ABM Kurshid Alam told reporters in Dhaka.
The South Asian nation of around 165 million people will get a total of 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine from the Indian company in six phases, Alam added.
Citing the main concern of people about the safe reach of the vaccine to remote parts of the country, he added: “Members of all law enforcement agencies will ensure full-fledged security.”
The vaccine is to be brought to Bangladesh by the local Beximco Pharmaceuticals company according to a tripartite agreement in December last year with the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer that has been producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, Dhaka is in talks with Germany’s BioNTech SE and the US’s Pfizer Inc. to get more vaccines, and the country is hopeful to get help from the World Health Organization's global scheme to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries.
Bangladesh is also in contact with a Chinese company to get their vaccines.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency about Chinese vaccines, Alam said Bangladesh’s Health Ministry had recently sent a letter to Chinese company SinoVac Biotech Ltd., which is interested in conducting phase 3 or human trials of COVID-19 vaccines in Bangladesh.
“We are waiting for the reply from the company with details of the trial,” he said, adding that on the basis of the information, the Bangladeshi government would make the final decision.
The coronavirus death tally in Bangladesh reached 7,803 on Monday as 22 new casualties were recorded in the last 24 hours. Total infections surged to 523,302, while 467,718 people have recovered from the disease so far.