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Health minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday reassured the people that there won’t be any problem in storing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, reports UNB.

“Bangladesh currently has the capacity to store up to 150 million vaccines. So, there won’t be any issues when 40-50 million doses come from India,” he told the media after a meeting of the ministry on vaccination and distribution.

Minister Maleque is fully prepared for the vaccination drive. “Vaccination will be carried out from the public hospitals,” he said.

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“Each government hospital has been prepared to preserve 425,000 doses. Another 71,000 doses can be stored in the five-six ice freezers at the hospitals,” the minister said.

Initially, 7,344 teams, each with six health workers, have been prepared for vaccination drive, according to Maleque.

He said the Directorate General of Drug Administration will strictly monitor the vaccination process to prevent irregularities. A ‘vaccine bulletin’ will be published regularly by the health ministry with necessary information.

Around 42,000 health workers are being trained for vaccination and an app for vaccine registration and distribution is in its final stage of completion under the ICT ministry, he said.

He added after the government drive of the vaccine begins other internationally approved private organizations will be allowed to give vaccines on conditions applied.

After the government launches the vaccination drive, internationally-recognised private firms will be conditionally allowed to get involved in the process.

Bangladesh approves Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Bangladesh approved the emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on 7 Jan.

This will allow Beximco Pharmaceuticals to bring doses from the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, which is manufacturing the vaccine.

The government signed an agreement with Serum Institute on 13 December for procuring the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 30 million doses of the vaccine in the next six months.

“If everything goes well, then we’ll get the vaccines in mid-January,” health minister Maleques said.

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Bangladesh coronavirus situation

The national caseload stood at 525,723 with 470,405 recoveries on Thursday, according to a handout from the Directorate General of Health Services.

Although the daily infection rate dropped to 4.9 per cent, the overall infection rate stood at 15.38 per cent, the DGHS said, noting that 89.48 per cent patients have recovered till date.

The mortality rate is 1.49 per cent, according to the handout. Bangladesh reported its first cases on 8 March and the first death on 18 March.