Source: Colombo Times
DHAKA: The Bangladesh government has signed an agreement with two organizations to collect 30 million doses of the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccines developed by Astrazeneca.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday between officials of the Health Ministry, Serum Institute of India and Beximco Pharmaceuticals in Dhaka.
Health Minister Zahed Maleque, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami and Managing Director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Nazmul Hassan were present on the occasion.
“Once the vaccine is developed, the Serum Institute will provide 30 million doses in the first phase, and Beximco Pharmaceuticals will bring it to Bangladesh,” the minister said.
“We will be able to provide the vaccine to 15 million people once it’s available in Bangladesh as two shots of vaccine are needed for one person,” added Maleque.
The process of importing the vaccine will start in January, he said before adding that a decision was taken in principle that Serum Institute will provide the vaccine at the same price it will be procured for.
Talks are underway with several other countries for procuring vaccines once those are available, according to the minister.
Assuring people that there was no shortage of funds for procuring vaccines, Maleque said that the authorities would seek more funds from the Finance Ministry, if necessary.
“The country has every preparation to fight the second wave of Covid-19,” he said.
The British drugmaker AstraZeneca expects data from late-stage trials of the vaccine later this year.
The company has taken on the development of Oxford University’s potential Covid-19 vaccine and signed several deals to supply over three billion doses to countries around the world.
Expectations are that Britain could start rolling out a successful vaccine in late December or early 2021.
Bangladesh was in talks with development partners, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, to secure funds for the vaccine, government officials said.