Apparently considering its dwindling stock, the government has decided to suspend administering the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine from Monday (Apr 26).
In a circular on Sunday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) asked the civil surgeons of all the districts, the chief health officers of all the city corporations, and the upaizla health and family planning officers of all the upazilas to take necessary steps in this regard.
The first dose of the covid vaccination has apparently been suspended amid uncertainty over the availability of vaccine doses from Serum Institute of India as per contract following rapid surge in the virus cases and deaths in neighbouring India.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd for 30 million doses of the vaccine.
Bangladesh has received 7 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India through its contract. Bangladesh also received 3.3 million doses of vaccine as a bilateral partnership gift.
Although Foreign Minister AK Momen earlier assured people that there will be adequate doses of the vaccine but a record number of cases in India has made the delivery of the vaccine doses uncertain.
In the mid-April, the pandemic has suddenly turned India into a Covid vaccine importer from a mass exporter.
Earlier in the day, DG of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said Bangladesh will get 21 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the first week of May.
“Most of these vaccine doses will be imported by Beximco Pharmaceuticals,” he told reporters following an online discussion meeting marking World Malaria Day.
Among the doses, one lakh are of COVAX while Serum Institute of India will supply the rest, Khurshid Alam said.