Unicef has delivered over 190 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh one year through COVAX, the global initiative co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization.
To date, Bangladesh remains the top recipient of doses under COVAX, with Unicef as a key delivery partner. COVAX accounts for more than 62% of doses received by the country and the goal of the global initiative is to ensure equitable access of Covid-19 vaccines globally, said a press release.
As per the press release, UNICEF delivered the first COVAX shipment of vaccines to Bangladesh on 1 June 2021, at a time when only 4% of the population in the country were fully vaccinated.
"A year on, thanks to a strong partnership between the government, the World Health Organization, Unicef and other partners, Bangladesh has fully vaccinated with two doses 69% of its population – a staggering 117 million people," it reads.
Professor Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional directorate general (planning and development), DGHS, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said, "With continuous supply of vaccines and hard work of dedicated health workers, we have been able to vaccinate the targeted population without wasting doses."
Unicef has also supported the government's Covid-19 response by strengthening the cold chain and ultra-cold chain, delivering critical supplies, generating demand, supporting data management and building capacity for vaccine administration.
Mr Sheldon Yett, Unicef representative to Bangladesh, said, "Bangladesh's ability to absorb and roll out Covid-19 vaccines is a testament to what can be achieved when there is political commitment and an equitable supply of vaccines. The success in getting millions of vaccines quickly and safely into arms in every corner of the country has been nothing short of remarkable."
Meanwhile, a Covid-19 booster dose campaign in the country is planned for June.
"Bangladesh with 69% fully vaccinated population is close to achieving the global benchmark of 70% fully vaccinated population by June 2022. The success could not have been possible without COVAX support. The ongoing pace of vaccination gives us a hope to see the end of Covid-19 as a global health emergency. Let us also not forget that the pandemic is not over anywhere until it's over everywhere," said Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO representative to Bangladesh.