Chattogram dwellers have to be deprived of Pfizer, Sinopharm Covid-19 jabs though the nationwide inoculation programme will resume from next week, thanks to various complications including lack of required cold storage facilities here.
Chattogram Civil Surgeon Sheikh Fazle Rabbi told The Business Standard on Monday evening that Pfizer vaccine requires storage of a temperature of minus 70 degrees which is not available in the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) stores of Chattogram Medical College Hospital, Civil Surgeon's Office and Covid-dedicated hospitals. Only the Tejgaon Central Cold Storage in Dhaka has the capacity to keep the vaccine at minus 70 degrees.
"Pfizer vaccine will be administered in some hospitals in Dhaka city due to temperature complications. And medical students, nursing institute students and medical technologists will be vaccinated with Sinopharm jabs," the Civil Surgeon said.
He further said as there is no need for separate measures for storage of Sinopharm vaccine, it can also be administered at the upazila level. But the vaccines have not been allocated for the people of Chattogram yet.
However, the government will resume the nationwide vaccination from next Saturday (19 June) with the administration of the Pfizer and Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. But the general public will not get the vaccine this time due to various restrictions.
Bangladesh started nationwide inoculation program on 7 February with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine received from India's Serum Institute. The government signed a deal to purchase 3.40 crore Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs from it. The Serum Institute sent 70 lakh doses of vaccines.
Later, India banned the export of Covid-19 vaccines due to the surge of coronavirus infection in their country. Earlier, the Indian government has sent 33 lakh vaccines to Bangladesh as a gift.
In these circumstances, Bangladesh is trying to get vaccines from other countries. The country obtained some vaccines from the US and China, but they are far below the demand.
On 13 June, six lakh doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, gifted by China, arrived at Bangabandhu airbase in Dhaka's Kurmitola area.
On 31 May, a consignment of 1,00,620 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine reached Dhaka, via the international vaccine alliance Gavi under its worldwide vaccination initiative Covax.