Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government is going to set up an international vaccine institute in the country to produce different types of vaccines, including the one for Covid-19.
Replying to a question from Tangail-6 lawmaker Ahasanul Islam Titu in parliament on Wednesday, she said the government would ink an agreement with South Korea to set up the vaccine institute.
She said the cabinet approval for the agreement is in progress.
The government had taken an initiative to produce Covid-19 vaccines in the country apart from collecting them from foreign sources, she said.
She also said government-to-government negotiations on transferring technology were underway with countries that had developed vaccines.
Hasina said the capacity of three companies – Incepta Pharmaceuticals, Popular Pharmaceuticals, and Healthcare Pharmaceuticals – to produce Covid-19 vaccines had already been assessed while Globe Biotech was working on such vaccines too.
She said the vaccine developed by Globe Biotech was now at the trial stage.
Replying to another question from Mymensingh-8 lawmaker Fakhrul Imam, the prime minister said the government had approved the emergency use of six vaccines – Johnson and Johnson, CoronaVac, Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V.
She said Bangladesh had so far received around 1.08 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines from different sources and around 58.22 lakh people had been given the first dose while the second dose had been administered to around 42.09 lakh till 5 June.
Sundarbans expansion underway
Replying to a question from Begum Sultana Nadira, a reserved seat parliamentarian, Hasina said the Sundarbans was being expanded while the number of tigers had also gone up.
The number of tigers in the Sundarbans was 106 as per the 2015 tiger census done through camera trapping and it rose to 114 in the 2018 census, she said.
The prime minister said the government had taken initiatives to create artificial mangroves to expand the Sundarbans and those would be spread to the entire coastal region.
She said various measures, including smart patrolling, had been taken to protect trees and wildlife.
Replying to a question from Naogaon 2 lawmaker Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker, Hasina said the constitution emphasises press freedom, including the free flow of information.
She said launching Bangabandhu Satellite 1 had enabled TV channels to reduce broadcast costs.