Bangladesh will get some 10.8 lakh doses of AstraZeneca vaccine soon under the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) facility, confirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday.
The doses will help eliminate the uncertainty about the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for around 15 lakh people, the ministry hoped.
But, even with the doses, there will still be a shortage of about five lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses. If these doses are not arranged in time, some five lakh people's first dose will prove to be ineffective.
But, the foreign ministry is trying to solve the crisis, sources said.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said Bangladesh requested two million AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the US as soon as it learned that the US had some 60-80 million AstraZeneca shots in stock.
On 8 February, a mass immunisation programme was launched in Bangladesh with the doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced at Serum Institute of India.
Bangladesh reached an agreement to bring three crore doses of the vaccine from Serum Institute in six months, but so far has received some 70 lakh vaccines in two consignments. The Indian government also sent 33 lakh doses as a gift.
But, due to the increased infection rate in India, getting the vaccines from India remains uncertain.
Six lakh Chinese vaccines arriving on Sunday
The second batch of some six lakh Chinese Covid-19 vaccine doses will arrive in Dhaka on Sunday, according to the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
Hualong Yan, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of China in Bangladesh, confirmed the matter in his Facebook post on Friday.
"600,000 gift vaccines are heading to Beijing International Airport. Arrival in Dhaka: June 13," he wrote.
On Thursday, the foreign minister said two C – 130 planes are being sent to bring six lakh doses from China. The Chinese Communist Party is also providing medical supplies to Awami League, he added.
Relevant sources said a cargo aeroplane of Bangladesh Airlines will leave for Beijing on 13 June and will return to Dhaka the same day during the evening.
Earlier on 12 May, China sent five lakh gift doses made by Sinopharm to Bangladesh and within nine days, they announced the second consignment of gift doses.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government is discussing with China to buy some 1.5 crore Sinopharm vaccines and some one crore vaccines from Russia.
Covid-19 death toll crosses 13,000 mark
Bangladesh on Friday crossed the grim milestone of 13,000 deaths from Covid-19 after 43 more people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours, reads a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
According to the press release, some 2,454 new cases were reported in the past day, making the total caseload 8,22,849. The positivity rate was recorded at 13.24%.
On the other hand, some 2,286 patients were declared free of Covid-19 during the last 24 hours, with a 92.59% recovery rate. So far, some 7,81,916 people have been declared free of Covid-19.