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Diplomatic sources of the Bangladesh mission in the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, told Prothom Alo on Monday that Bangladesh is buying over 104.7 million doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines through COVAX. Vaccine manufacturing companies of China want to send these vaccines from October to December.

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Officials involved with the vaccine procurement process said the government has taken up plans to administer 20 million doses of vaccine each month after ensuring the supply chain for future.

DGHS director general Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, on Facebook live, also disclosed the plan to administer 20 million doses every month.

Meanwhile, health minister Zahid Maleque is set to go Geneva on 28 September. Diplomatic sources said the minister would discuss vaccine procurement from different sources during his visit.

Mustafizur Rahman, the permanent representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations office at Geneva, told Prothom Alo on Monday that the issue of getting vaccines from COVAX would be discussed among other issues during the minister’s visit.

He also said the vaccines which were likely to be bought at affordable prices under COVAX from January next year are now being bought in advance. COVAX said they would start to supply the vaccine from the last quarter of the year.

The government wants to bring 80 per cent of the population under vaccine coverage. A total of 260 million doses of vaccine would be needed to vaccinate that number of people. Bangladesh is supposed to get 60 million vaccines from COVAX for free. Another 100 million doses are being bought from COVAX.

Bangladesh is to get 75 million more doses of Sinopharm vaccines bought directly from China and 30 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca from India’s Serum Institute. Other than these, Bangladesh is likely to receive some more vaccines as gift. In total, Bangladesh has confirmed the availability of 275 million doses so far.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on 30 August told the parliament that Bangladesh has taken initiative to procure over 245 million (24,54,52,700) doses of vaccine as of 30 August.

As of Sunday, Bangladesh has received around 50 million (4,95,85,080) doses of vaccine. According to the DGHS, as of yesterday over 22.4 million (2,24,94,565) people have taken one dose and over 14.8 million (1,48,20,442) were given two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Over 42.5 million (4,25,95,150) people have registered for the vaccine.

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