Finally Covid-19 vaccine has arrived in Bangladesh. With the arrival of vaccines, the formal fight is going to be started in the country against coronavirus that has already claimed over two million deaths globally.
The first consignment of 20 lakh doses of vaccines gifted by India reached Dhaka on Thursday morning.
A chartered flight of Air India carrying the vaccines landed at Shahjalal International Airport at 11:21 am, said additional SP of Airport Armed Police Alamgir Hossain .
Hours after the Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Dhaka, Indian High Commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over 20 lakh doses as a gift to Bangladesh from the people of India.
In a programme at state guest house Padma today, the Indian High Commissioner handed over the first box of the vaccine to Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar tweeted on "VaccineMaitri" saying India reaffirms the highest priority accorded by India to relations with Bangladesh.
Deal with India over Covid vaccines
Besides India's gift, Bangladesh is bringing 3 crore shots of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India's Serum Institute.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals had inked a deal with the Indian institute in this regard last November.
Vaccination in Bangladesh
Bangladesh will start countrywide vaccination from 8 February after a week's trial run.
The government will kick off the trial on 27 or 28 January at Kurmitola Hospital by giving the shot to 20-25 frontline workers, Health Secretary Md Abdul Mannan told the media on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join the inaugural function virtually.
Another 400-500 health workers will be vaccinated at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital, Mugda General Hospital, and Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital the next day.
In the meantime, the first shipment of 50 lakh doses purchased from the Serum Institute of India will also have arrived on 25 January.
After observing the vaccinated people for a week, the nationwide vaccine drive will begin on 8 February.
The Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) could be authorised by the WHO in January or February.
The same vaccine produced in South Korea by SK Bioscience could be approved by the UN agency in the second half of February, at the earliest, a provisional calendar published by the WHO on Wednesday shows.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University, has already been given emergency approval in Britain, while decisions in the European Union and the United States are close.