5mn vaccine doses arrive

Bangladesh on Monday received 5 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India as part of the tripartite purchase deal between the health ministry, Beximco Pharma and the vaccine maker.

This is the first consignment of the 30 million doses planned to buy under the deal.

An Air India special flight carried the doses of vaccine which were then taken to the Beximco warehouses in Tongi from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Bangladesh will start the vaccination on January 27 with a nurse to take the first jab in a programme to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The countrywide campaign will begin on February 8 giving healthcare workers and other frontliners as priority.

Earlier, the government received two million doses as a gift from India.

According to the EPI, the immunisation authorities in Bangladesh, will administer the vaccine in 6 million people first. One million doses will be kept for the second dose which will be given after the arrival of another 5 million doses as second consignment.

The second shot will be administered two months after the first jab as per the Oxford-AstraZeneca guidelines for its vaccine.

The Directorate General of Health Services has already sent a letter to all the agencies concerned asking them to prepare a list of eligible people of different strata to be vaccinated in the first phase.

There will be no vaccination centres outside the government hospitals.

Private hospitals will be able to take the permission as a vaccine center if they maintain certain criteria as part of the precautionary measures to treat any adverse reactions.

A cell has been set up to regularly circulate information about vaccination through a bulletin, according to the health secretary.

The government will also conduct antibody tests on the vaccinated people to see how long the Covid antibodies last.

Everything related to the Covid vaccination will be controlled through a mobile app called "Shurokkha".