The Serum Institute of India has resumed vaccine export to Bangladesh after a 7-month halt with 10 lakh doses arriving at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) yesterday, officials said.
The vaccines will be used to inoculate five lakh people.
A consignment carrying the vaccines landed at HSIA at 5:54pm on Saturday, Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer of Beximco Pharmaceuticals told The Business Standard (TBS).
However, officials are unsure of whether the supply of the vaccines will be regular from now on.
"Whether vaccine supply (from Serum) will continue regularly depends on the Indian government. The Serum Institute has no say in this regard," said Rabbur.
"But, as the Indian government has resumed vaccine export in four neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, we are hoping to get them regularly," he added.
So far, Bangladesh has received 80 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines (Covishield) from the Serum Institute under an agreement signed between the institute, Beximco Pharmaceuticals and the health ministry last November.
Under the agreement, Serum owes Bangladesh another 2.20 crore doses.
Professor Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director-general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told TBS that the doses that arrived on Saturday will be used to vaccinate 5 lakh people under the ongoing vaccination programme of the government.
"We will continue the vaccinations ensuring the availability of second doses. Because it will create problems in case vaccines stop coming again."
"Beximco has not informed us when the next consignment from Serum will arrive," he added.
According to the tripartite agreement signed in November, Serum is supposed to deliver three crore doses of the Covishied vaccine developed in collaboration with Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
The doses were due to be delivered over six months, with 50 lakh per month.
However, the neighbouring country announced a halt on vaccine export in late March following a massive outbreak of Covid-19 there.
The first consignment of 50 lakh doses of the vaccine arrived in Dhaka on 25 January. The second batch of 20 lakh doses arrived on 22 February. In addition, the Indian government gifted Bangladesh another 20 lakh doses on 21 January and 12 lakh doses on 26 March of this year.
2 lakh AstraZeneca shots from Romania
Romania will donate 2 lakh doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh.
Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu announced this during official talks with his Bangladesh counterpart AK Abdul Momen in Bucharest on Friday, says a press release.
Dr Momen emphasised initiative from both countries to take the bilateral trade volume to an expected level.
Covid-19 deaths increase to 20
The number of daily casualties from the virus went up again on Saturday to 20 from 7 a day ago.
The number of daily cases, however, went down to 415 with a declining 2.45% positivity rate recorded after testing 16,925 samples across the country.
The death rate, on the other hand, remained unchanged at 1.77% since 22 September.
With the latest additions, the death toll reached 27,674 and the case tally climbed to 15,61,878 in the country.