Mass vaccination drive likely to resume in July

CITY National

Staff Correspondent:- The mass inoculation for Covid-19 is expected to resume in July, Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said on Thursday.  The government is working relentlessly to collect more vaccines, he said in a press conference marking the distribution of another 53,340 houses by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

”We are maintaining communications and already held dialogue with some countries. Now, we are expecting to get vaccine soon.”, he added. Besides, the government is also trying to produce vaccines in the country, Kaikaus stated.   Mentioning that a total of Tk14,000 crore has been allocated to collect the vaccines, the Principal Secretary said, “Bangladesh doesn’t want any favour from anyone rather it will buy it as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always insists that”  “We don’t need any free vaccine, we will buy them”, he said while replying to a query.

The government from the very first day has been working rigorously for souring vaccines, the Principal Secretary said, adding that “Our high commissioners and ambassadors have been communicating with USA, UK, European countries, China and others countries continuously to this end,”  PMO Secretary, Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Project Director, Md Mahbub Hossain and PMO’s Director General (Administration), Mohammad Ahsan Kibria Siddiqui were also present there, among others.

Earlier on 14 June, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that the authorities will resume the Covid-19 vaccination drive from 19 June. Those who have already been registered will be inoculated for now, with the Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccine doses.  Bangladesh’s vaccination programme was disrupted by India’s decision in March to halt the export of vaccines made by Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, in order to prioritize domestic demand amid a sharp rise in cases.  Before that, Bangladesh managed to get more than 10 million vaccine doses from neighboring India, some as a gift, and the rest as part of a commercial deal with the Serum Institute of India (SII).  Amid the second wave of the deadly virus, the government has imposed a stricter lockdown to curb the virus surge.