June 27, 2022, 11:31 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2021-06-11 17:20:56 BdST

6 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses on the way to Dhaka

A special chiller truck containing 600,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid019 vaccine on its way to Beijing Capital International Airport, China, to be flown out to Dhaka, Bangladesh

The second shipment of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine doses from China is on its way to Dhaka, due to arrive on June 13.

A cargo truck containing 600,000 doses of the vaccine was transported to Beijing Capital International Airport on Friday morning, Bangladesh time, according to a Facebook post by Hualong Yan, minister counsellor and deputy chief of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.

This is the second consignment of vaccine doses that China is sending over to Bangladesh - as a gift.

Earlier on May 12, China handed over the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine - 500,000 doses - to Bangladesh as a gift.

Just nine days after the arrival of the first batch of 500,000 doses of gift vaccine in Bangladesh, China announced that it would send a second batch of vaccine doses as a gift to Bangladesh.

On Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said a "very pragmatic" discussion was underway between Bangladesh and China on the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine doses to meet Bangladesh's needs.

He also said there was a “very encouraging progress" between the two countries over coproduction of vaccines.

On May 27, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved the Health and Family Welfare Ministry's proposal to buy Sinopharm vaccine doses.

As per the approval, the Health Services Division of the ministry will procure the Sinopharm shots in June, July, and August.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) approved the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use on April 29. Apart from this, Pfizer-BioNTech, Russia's Sputnik V, and Covishield were also given approval.

Bangladesh started its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination program on February 7 by administering Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The country received seven million of Covishield doses through its contract. Besides, India gave Bangladesh 3.3 million vaccines as a gift.

On April 25, the government suspended administering the first dose of the Covishield, just a day after India said no more vaccine doses would be shipped to Bangladesh anytime soon.

As the SII could not be able to provide the doses of vaccine they promised, a good number of people are waiting for their second jabs.

The health authorities started administering the Sinopharm vaccine among medical college students on May 25.

On May 31, the country received more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under Covax facility run by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

Bangladesh also sought two million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the US, once the latter announced on April 26 that it would share the vaccine with the world.

The US government told Bangladesh that they would give the vaccine doses, but they had yet to decide how many doses they would be able to provide to Bangladesh.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said he hopes the US will honour Bangladesh by providing the AstraZeneca vaccine doses, apart from other vaccines.

Bangladesh needs at least 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine immediately.

The US reportedly wants to give Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to Bangladesh.

On June 3, the White House announced its plan to share vaccines directly with Bangladesh as a part of a framework to provide 80 million vaccine doses globally by the end of the month.

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