The Chinese government will soon send five lakh jabs of Covid-19 vaccines, developed by their state-owned drug maker Sinopharm, to Bangladesh as gift, health officials said.
Besides, the Bangladesh government has given the authorisation to the Sinopharm that they can inoculate all of the Chinese nationals working in different development projects.
Meanwhile, the health ministry has made "a primary progress" to procure the Russian vaccine "Sputnik V", according to the health officials.
"Sinopharm has confirmed that they will supply us their vaccine. Additionally, they will send five lakh jabs as gift. On the other hand, discussions are going on to procure the Russian vaccine Sputnik V," Prof ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of health directorate, told The Daily Star last night.
The development comes at a time when the uncertainty looms over the ongoing Covid-19 inoculation campaign after the Indian government banned the export of Oxford vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
While the World health Organisation approved the Oxford vaccine. Sinopharm has yet to get approval for their vaccine from this UN health agency so far.
Prof Khurshid also said the government is now working on regulation issue regarding the Chinese vaccines.
"We approved the Oxford vaccine before the WHO did. In case of Sinopharm vaccine, we are also considering so. The health minister has been overseeing the issue," said Prof Khurshid.
On March 15, the health ministry wrote to the secretary of the Economic Relations Division "to take necessary initiatives to request the Chinese embassy to get the vaccine", according to an official letter obtained by this newspaper.
On December 30, Sinopharm announced that the vaccine had an efficacy of 79.34 percent, leading the Chinese government to give its approval, according to the New York Times Coronavirus vaccine Tracker.
The company has yet to publish the detailed results of its phase-3 trial.
However, the United Arab Emirates, which approved a Sinopharm vaccine in January, said the vaccine was 86 percent effective, reports BBC.
This Chinese vaccine has already been approved in Bahrain, China and United Arab Emirates.
Meantime, it has received emergency use authorisation in Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, Guyana, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe and limited use approval in Serbia and Seychelles.
Meanwhile, the Sputnik V, also known as Gam-Covid-Vac, is a Covid vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, research organisation of Russia's health ministry.
It has an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent and approved for emergency use in 60 countries, according to the New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker.
The Bangladesh government purchased three crore doses of Oxford vaccine from SII, of which only 70 lakh have received so far.
Besides, it received additional 32 lakh jabs as gift from the Indian government.
Of the total 1.02 crore jabs of Oxford vaccines, 6,010,824 jabs were administered as of yesterday.