Bangladesh on Saturday started administering Sinopharm vaccine doses across the country, aiming to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The vaccination started in the capital and elsewhere of the country with 11 lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccine gifted by China, said the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The vaccine doses are being administered at four hospitals in Dhaka district -- Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, Sir Salimullah Medical College and Hospital, and Mughda Medical College and Hospital.
Health workers and police personnel, students of government and private medical and dental colleges, students of government institutes of nursing and midwifery, residents of dormitories of public universities, officers and employees working in important national projects, expatriate workers, cleaners, those who are engaged in burial and those who were excluded from vaccination earlier and citizens of other countries who are working here will be vaccinated on a priority basis.
A consignment of 600,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm jabs arrived here on June 13, nine days after the arrival of the first batch of 500,000 doses gifted by Beijing.
Bangladesh also received 100,620 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on June 1.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malek said Pfizer vaccine shots will be given at four centres in Dhaka to those who have already registered.
On June 18, while exchanging views with local people's representatives at his residence in Garpara, Manikganj, the health minister said the country has not yet fully started the vaccination drive.
He said, "We hope to get vaccinated soon. We’ll get the vaccine from China and Russia. We’ll also get vaccines from India as per the agreement as it has not been delivered yet."
The minister went on saying, "Immediately after vaccination, a person is not protected, it takes a month."
The health minister also said Delta variant has also spread in our country and its transmission capacity is 50 percent higher.
"So, we’ve to follow health protocols, we’ve to protect ourselves, we’ve to protect the family, we’ve to protect the country," he added.
The government halted administering the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on April 26 considering the dwindling stock of its jabs.
Also, registration for the Covid-19 vaccination remained suspended amid uncertainty over the availability of promised vaccine doses from India's Serum Institute.
However, the mass vaccination of Covid-19 is expected to resume in July next as the government is making all-out efforts to collect vaccines, said Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus Thursday. "The government has allocated Tk14,000 crore for the procurement of vaccines as it’s an all-out effort to ensure Covid jabs for all."
The government has so far approved the emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm (China), Sputnik-V (Russia), Pfizer-BioNTech (USA/Germany) and Crona Vac (China) vaccines.