The Directorate General of Health Services has received assurances from Beximco Pharmaceuticals that it will procure 2 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from Serum Institute of India on an emergency basis, according to its chief ABM Khurshid Alam.Although there is no fixed date for its arrival, Khurshid expects the vaccines to be available in the first week of May.
The country is running low on COVID-19 vaccines amid fears that the government’s stock could dry up within two weeks at the current rate of usage.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with the Serum Institute of India to purchase 30 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca in November. According to that deal, Beximco Pharmaceuticals is responsible for procuring the doses.
Khurshid said he spoke to Beximco’s Managing Director Nazmul Hassan about the matter on Friday.”He [Nazmul] asked me what our minimum requirement is and I said we could cover the shortfall with 2 million doses. He said we’d get the doses and told us not to worry about it.
Earlier, Khurshid announced that Bangladesh will receive 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine under the COVAX scheme in the first week of May.
Another 500,000 doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine will arrive as a ‘gift’ from China, he told reporters after a seminar marking National Malaria Eradication Day on Sunday.
“We are hoping to make up for the shortage with 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The higher-ups at Beximco have told us they’ll bring in the vaccine soon,” said Alam.
“Both of these vaccines have been approved by the Directorate General of the Drug Administration. We have informed them that we will accept the vaccine whenever they send it to us.”