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Health - June 23, 2021

Many people emerge as vaccine traders overnight

Staff Correspondent: Many people at home and abroad have emerged as traders of Covid vaccine, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka yesterday.
‘Many people contact us to provide Russian vaccines, but Russia claims they do not have any agent for delivering vaccines,’ he said at the foreign ministry, adding, ‘now almost everyone, including journalists, writers and singers, has become vaccine traders overnight.’Momen, however, said the government has no specific information right now on getting consignment of vaccines.
Negotiations with China and Russia ‘is at the final stage and we will get good news anytime,’ he said.
The government has been in touch with several countries, including the US and Japan, for getting vaccines at the earliest, the foreign minister said, adding that he talked to his Japanese counterpart ToshimitsuMotegi on multiple issues, including Covid vaccine and Rohingya repatriation, yesterday.
The Bangladesh government approved six Covid-19 vaccines so far for emergency use. They are Indian Covishield, also known as Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Coronavac (Sinovac) of China, Sputnik V of Russia, and Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Janssen of Belgium.
The government has opted for alternative sources of Covid vaccines after its inoculation campaign faltered due to the failure of the Serum Institute of India to deliver the agreed Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses.
Under a contract with the Bangladesh government, Serum is supposed to supply three crore doses of the vaccine to Bangladesh by June 2021, but the company stopped supplying in March after sending 70 lakh doses.
Administering of the second jab of Oxford-AstraZeneca to those who have received the first shot of the two-dose vaccine remains suspended due to its shortage in scores of inoculation centers in many districts of the country.
The government also faced a setback in negotiations on importing Sinopharm vaccine as a senior government official disclosed the per unit price set for delivering to Bangladesh by the Chinese exporter.
However, the government was administering Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines as first dose to selected group of people and Oxford-AstraZeneca as the second dose to the recipient of the first dose of the same vaccine in some vaccination centers.

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