50 lakh Oxford-AstraZeneca doses coming Monday from India: Health Minister

The first consignment of five million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine purchased by Bangladesh from the Serum Institute of India Pvt Limited will arrive on Monday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Sunday.

“India has already provided us 2 million doses. Five million doses will come as per our contract. The rest [of the 25 million doses] will come in phases,” he told the media at the Secretariat.

Minister Maleque said the government is working to preserve the vaccine, adding: “We’ve decided where to keep the vaccines when the rest of the doses come.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the vaccination drive on Jan 27 at Kurmitola Hospital. A nurse will receive the jab there.

“We’ve a national committee which will decide how the vaccination campaign will be carried out. They’ve finished preparations,” he said.

The government has a list of everyone who will be vaccinated, he said, adding that permission has been given for antibody tests.

Covid-19 vaccine side effects

There are apprehensions among the people about the possible side effects of the vaccine.

Minister Maleque said many people are talking about side effects. Many medicines have side effects and we can’t guarantee that there won’t be any in this case.

“The usual side effect is slight dizziness,” he said. “We’ve arranged instant treatment at hospitals in such case.”

When asked how the government will assure the people to receive the jab, he said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effect is less than that of other vaccines.

“Hundreds of thousands of doses have been used in India and UK. So, there’s no need for trial,” the minister said.

‘Won’t force anyone to get Covid vaccine’

Maleque said the government will not force anyone to receive the vaccine.

“We’ll provide vaccines to those who’ll seek it voluntarily. The nurses who’ll be vaccinated at Kurmitola are coming forward on their own,” the minister said.

People working on the front line will be vaccinated first as per the WHO guideline. Journalists will get the vaccine in due time as they work with risk.

He had earlier said that the elderly people will get priority in this regard as the death percentage of them was high in the country. People below the age of 18 will not get the vaccine.

Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, had recently suggested the prime minister to receive the jab to build confidence among the people.

Minister Maleque said the government would vaccinate the front liners first.

Covid vaccine: Bangladesh in talks with other countries

Earlier on Thursday, India provided 2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as ‘gift’ to Bangladesh.

Minister Maleque had said the government is in talks with Russia, China and others for collecting more vaccine.

Zahid Maleque further said 4200 people have been trained for the vaccination drive.

Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh

Bangladesh recorded a daily infection rate of 3.34% with 473 new cases until Sunday. The daily infection rate was 5.49% on January 18 and 8.18% on January 1.

The total caseload has reached 531,799 with 476,413 recoveries (89.59%).

Meanwhile, fatalities rose to 8,023 with a mortality rate of 1.51%.

The country reported its first cases on March 8 last year and the first death on March 18.

Confirmed Covid-19 infections around the world approached 99 million on Sunday with more than 2.1 million people known to have died worldwide.

Source: United News of Bangladesh