Serum Institute sends 1m AstraZeneca doses to Bangladesh as India resumes exports

Bangladesh News

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The shipment of the vaccine, named COVISHIELD, arrived at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka by an Emirates flight at 6 pm on Saturday, according to Beximco Pharmaceuticals, the distributor of the vaccine in Bangladesh.

Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer of Beximco, said the shots would be taken to the warehouses, from where the company would hand those over to the Directorate General of Health Services.

This is the first consignment of vaccine from India in about seven and a half months.  

India, the world’s biggest maker of vaccines, stopped exports of COVID shots in April to focus on inoculating its own population as infections exploded.

The country’s monthly vaccine output has since more than doubled and was set to quadruple to over 300 million doses in October, the government said last month.

The Bangladesh government and Beximco signed a deal with the Serum Institute for 30 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine.

After India halted exports due to its own crisis, Bangladesh stopped administering the first doses to save second shots for the people who have had the first dose.

But Bangladesh was already short of enough doses to fully vaccinate all the citizens who have received the first dose.

More than 1.5 million people missed the second dose on expected dates. They were fully vaccinated after AstraZeneca vaccines arrived from Japan under the global sharing platform COVAX.

After the arrival of the latest consignment, Bangladesh is yet to receive 22 million doses under the deal with Serum.

Beximco COO Rabbur could not confirm when the rest of the doses under the deal would arrive. “It depends on the Indian government’s permission.”


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