Of the vaccines, Bangladesh has already received 1.25 million vaccines till 1 September. Some 6 million vaccines are supposed to arrive this month.

COVAX supplies vaccines free of cost and works as a coordinator to help different countries buy vaccines.

Bangladesh will receive around 165 million vaccines from one source if some 104 million doses of vaccines are purchased under this global initiative.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Monday morning, Bangladesh permanent representative at UN in Geneva Md Mustfizur Rahman said the vaccines as a gift from COVAX are supposed to receive this year.

There is an obligation for vaccine manufacturing companies to supply vaccines at affordable prices to COVAX. Bangladesh will be able to purchase vaccines from COVAX at an affordable price.
BSMMU Pharmacology department chairman Md Shaedur Rahman

Bangladesh was supposed to buy vaccines through COVAX in January next year, he said adding the vaccines are being bought in advance now.

Md Mustfizur Rahman said vaccines being bought through COVAX may reach the country in October.

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Meerjady Sabrina said over 100 million vaccines are supposed to arrive in the country at the last quarter of the current year. These vaccines are from Sinopharm and Sinovac of China.

According to website of global vaccine alliance Gavi, COVAX wants to distribute 1900 million vaccines among different countries to ensure vaccination in the poor countries by 31 December 2021.

Diplomatic sources in Geneva said India's Serum Institute was 60 per cent source of vaccines for COVAX.

Failing to procure vaccines from Serum, COVAX has emphasised to collect vaccines from multiple sources. As part of the initiative, Gavi signed advance purchase agreements with Sinopharm and Sinovax of China in July.

Quoting Gavi chief executive officer Seth Berkley, the website said COVAX partners will receive vaccines soon due to agreements with Chinese companies.

Over 40 million vaccines including purchase and gift from different sources have so far reached the country. Over 28.5 million doses of vaccines were given till Monday. The vaccines are: Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinopharm.

A total of 260 million vaccines will be required to vaccinate 80 per cent of the people estimating 130 million. A total of 160 million vaccines can be received from COVAX. A portion has to be purchased and a portion will be received free of cost.

Of the remaining, an agreement has been signed with Sinopharm of China to purchase 90.5 million vaccines. Bangladesh signed with Serum Institute of India to purchase 30 million vaccines. But the country is yet to get 23 million vaccines.

Moreover, Bangladesh got 7 million vaccines as gift from India and China. In total the country has ensured an additional 100 million vaccines.

On 30 August prime minister Sheikh Hasina in parliament said steps have been taken to procure 245 million vaccines. Measures have also been taken to arrange 100 million vaccines a month.

Second doses of mass vaccination on Tuesday

Outside of the regular vaccinations, second doses of vaccines were given in an extended drive across the country.

The health directorate extended mass vaccination on 7 August and it continued till 12 August. Besides, regular vaccinations, jabs were given at 4,600 unions, 1054 municipalities, and 433 wards of 12 city corporations.

In the beginning Bangladesh depended on Serum Institute of India to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Bangladesh engaged Beximco Pharma and signed a tri-partite agreement to purchase 30 million vaccines manufactured by Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Serum sent 7 million doses of vaccines in two phases. India banned vaccine export following worsening of the Covid situation. Bangladesh's mass vaccination programme launched in February faced a setback.

The government approved emergency use of Russian Sputnik-V and Chinese Sinopharm in April and May respectively to collect vaccines from alternative sources to tackle the situation.

Bangladesh signed agreements with Sinopharm of China in two phases in June and August. Engaging pharmaceutical company Incepta, Bangladesh signed a tri-partite agreement with Sinopharm to produce the vaccine locally.

About the receiving the vaccines, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Pharmacology department chairman Md Shaedur Rahman said there is an obligation for vaccine manufacturing companies to supply vaccines at affordable prices to COVAX. Bangladesh will be able to purchase vaccines from COVAX at an affordable price.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.

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