2nd batch of Sinopharm vaccine on the way

This second consignment of vaccine doses is a gift from China to Bangladesh
2nd batch of Sinopharm vaccine on the way

The BAF aircrafts crewmen with the consignment of Sinopharm vaccine doses at Beijing International Airport on Sunday, June 13, 2021 Facebook/Hualong Yan

Two Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) aircraft left China with 600,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday morning.

The planes left Beijing International Airport for Bangladesh around 10am (Bangladesh time) and will reach Dhaka at 5:30pm, said an ISPR press release.

This is the second consignment of vaccine doses that China is sending to Bangladesh as a gift. The first consignment of 500,000 doses were handed over on May 12.

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 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 doses with Covishield, just a day after India said no more vaccine doses would be shipped to Bangladesh anytime soon. As SII have been unable to provide the number of doses they promised, many people are waiting for second jabs after receiving their first.

The health authorities administered the Sinopharm vaccine to 500 medical college students on May 25.

Also, Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) administered the Sinopharm vaccine to over 450 Chinese citizens.

On May 31, the country received more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under the 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.

Bangladesh needs at least 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine immediately, for second doses.

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 part of a framework to provide 80 million vaccine doses globally by the end of the month.