Bangladesh making guidelines for private import, sale of COVID vaccines

The government is making guidelines for private import, sales and administration of coronavirus vaccines, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said.

Published : 14 Jan 2021, 02:04 PM
Updated : 14 Jan 2021, 02:04 PM

He announced the development at the end of a meeting on coronavirus vaccine administration plans at the Secretariat in Dhaka on Thursday.

Bangladesh is supposed to receive five million of the 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University-AstraZeneca from Serum Institute of India by Jan 25. If things go according to the plan, the vaccination programme will kick off in the first week of February.

Beximco Pharmaceuticals will supply the drugs to the government. Reuters recently reported that Beximco could start private sales of the vaccine next month.

“The policy will include everything. How they will give, keep account of it, what the price would be -- these things would be specified. It will also spell out which hospital or diagnostic centres would carry out the vaccination,” Maleque said.

The vaccination storage will be equipped with additional security by the police and Ansar. “We’ve asked to keep the storage refrigerator for vaccines properly regulated. Adequate power supply will also be supervised.”

Maleque said the government has responded to the WHO-led COVAX programme’s offer for Pfizer’s vaccine doses.

“Our estimates say we will get 800,000 doses to vaccinate almost 400,000 people.”

He said as many as 7,344 teams have been created across the country to carry out the vaccination campaign.

Every team comprises six members -- two immunisation workers and four volunteers. Each team will be able to vaccinate 100 to 150 people a day.

The health ministry and health directorate would soon form two monitoring cells to oversee the vaccination programmes around the country, he said.

“What the situation of the vaccines countrywide is, whether they need something, they would advise them. They will also monitor the private sector.”

Maleque said foreigners would also be given the vaccines. “A decision on this will come from the foreign ministry.”