50 lakh COVID-19 vaccines’ shipment to arrive on any day of this month: Maleque

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DHAKA, Jan 21, 2021 (BSS) – Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque today said the first consignment of 50 lakh doses of purchased COVID-19 vaccines developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India will arrive in Bangladesh on any day of this month.

“As per an agreement, the first consignment of 50 lakh doses of purchased COVID-19 inoculate will reach Bangladesh by this month … we’ll inform the people (about the development on time),” he told journalists on the sidelines at a function of handing over 20 million doses of vaccine as gift by India at state guest house Padma here.

Maleque said the government is finalizing the entire planning for proper distribution of COVID-19 vaccines among the people, adding the possible date of vaccination trial will be carried out after six or seven days later.

The health minister said the final date will be fixed for trial of vaccine after getting consent from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she will join the inaugural function of vaccine trial through a videoconferencing.

He urged all not to spread rumor over arrival of vaccines, its side effects and distribution process.

“We all should extend our cooperation for proper distribution and application of vaccine as it (vaccine) is a life-saving medicine,” Maleque said.

The health minister said when the government is tirelessly working to contain the outbreak of the deadly virus, vested quarters are misleading the people over its vaccines.

Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s outstanding contribution to Bangladesh’s success in vaccination programme, he said the prime minister won the prestigious “Vaccine Hero” award for it.

“Bangladesh has enough experience in immunization as it was successfully preventing many diseases including polio and tetanus … we’ll be also successful in conducting COVID-19 vaccination drive through previous experiences,” the minister said

Bangladesh received its first ever COVID-19 vaccine consignment today (Thursday) as India sent 20 million doses of inoculate as gift as part of their neighborhood plus policy.

A chartered Air India plane, carrying the jabs of Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:23 am.

Later, Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over the vaccines formally to foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and health minister Zahid Maleque at a ceremony at state guest house Padma here.

Apart from today’s gift, Bangladesh is also set to purchase 3 crore doses of India-made vaccine under a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on November 5 and a subsequent agreement on December 13 among Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL) and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The government has set the stage for nationwide COVID-19 vaccine distribution from early February, health services director general (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam told BSS on Tuesday.