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Bangladesh PM eyes 60 mln Chinese vaccines in next three months

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-09-16 09:41

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina poses with the book titled "Amar Dekha Naya Chin" (The New China as I Saw) at the inaugural ceremony of the country's largest annual book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Feb 2, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

DHAKA -- Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Wednesday her government is expecting to receive 60 million doses of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in the next three months.

She made the remark while replying to a tabled question from a lawmaker during the prime minister's question-answer session in the parliament.

In line with a schedule given by Sinopharm, she said, "A total of 60 million vaccines doses -- 20 million doses each month -- will be available in the country from China till December from next month."

According to the premier, 44,431,880 vaccine jabs have so far been collected through bilateral arrangements and initiatives under COVAX.

She said there is a plan to vaccinate 80 percent of Bangladesh's population including students aged 12 and above under the vaccination coverage.

Meanwhile, she mentioned that the physically challenged people will also be brought under the vaccination coverage.

Currently, Hasina said the age limit has been reduced to 18 and "steps are underway to bring all students of 12 years and above under vaccination coverage."

Hasina said her government is trying to collect at least 10 million or more doses of vaccines every month to keep the ongoing vaccination drives unhampered.

Also, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen Wednesday said they expect 240 million vaccine doses by April next year under the COVAX facility, as gifts and from other sources.

Bangladesh's vaccination drive is now running smoothly in capital Dhaka and elsewhere thanks largely to China's continued support.

To fight against the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases, Bangladesh has signed an agreement on the co-production of the Chinese vaccines locally.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between China's Sinopharm Group, Bangladesh's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Incepta Vaccine Ltd., a local vaccine manufacturing company last month.

Bangladesh began the COVID-19 vaccination drive in January to contain the pandemic that has spread across the country.

Amid uncertainty over the timely arrival of vaccine shipment from India, the Bangladeshi government later halted administering the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In June, the vaccination drive resumed in some parts of the country with the China-donated Sinopharm vaccines.

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