The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has approved the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Bangladesh.
The DGDA has issued a press release to this effect on Thursday afternoon, removing all legal barriers to the import and use of this vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine was earlier required to be stored at minus 90 to minus 60 degrees Celsius. So, the cold chain maintenance of the Pfizer vaccine was a concern for Bangladesh.
But the good news is that vials of the Pfizer shot can now be stored at refrigerator temperatures of 2-8 degrees Celsius for five days and they remain stable at 30 degrees Celsius for two hours, says the DGDA.
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer told the Indian government on Wednesday that their Covid-19 vaccine can be administered to everyone aged 12 years and above and can also be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius for up to one month, sources told news agency ANI.
At least 1.06 lakh doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Dhaka on 30 May from the international vaccine alliance Gavi under its worldwide vaccination initiative Covax, ABM Khurshid Alam, director-general of the health directorate, told The Business Standard.
He said citizens who have already completed the registration for inoculation but did not get the first shot will qualify for the Pfizer vaccine.
The DGDA press release says Pfizer's is a two-dose vaccine, the second dose of which will be given three weeks after the first dose.
Pfizer has been approved as the fourth vaccine to be used in the country. Earlier, the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, Russia's Sputnik-V, and China's Sinopharm vaccines got emergency use authorisation (EUA) in Bangladesh.
Proposal to buy Chinese vaccine at $10 per dose approved
The government has approved a proposal for purchasing 1.5 crore doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines from China at $10 per dose.
The decision was taken at the 19th meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on Thursday.
"Fifty lakh vaccines will arrive in Bangladesh each month from June, July, and August," Additional Secretary Shahida Akter said at a briefing after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the government has written a "letter of interest" to China proposing to buy 4-5 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by December.
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming handed over 5 lakh doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh as a "special gift" from his country on 12 May this year.
The cabinet committee also approved the "Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness" project by the Directorate General of Health Services.
Under the project, the health directorate will procure 1,154 personnel and 48 vehicle services (outsourcing) from the UNFPA at a cost of Tk133.75 crore.