Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Monday officially announced that 5 lakh doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine will reach Bangladesh on May 12 as a “special gift”.
“It’s the latest outcome of China-Bangladesh anti-pandemic cooperation which again shows that our two peoples are in the same boat and we will stand with each other till the end of this battle,” he said.
The Ambassador made the announcement during an interaction with the members of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) held virtually. DCAB President Pantho Rahaman and General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event, reports UNB.
“China is dedicated to international vaccine cooperation,” said the Chinese envoy, adding that the Sinopharm vaccine has already been recognised and used in over 50 countries and regions globally for quite some time.
“This is a new vote of confidence in China’s vaccines cast by the world. The Bangladeshi government also gave emergency use authorisation to the vaccine a week prior to the WHO’s clearance, which I believe is a far-sighted decision. It shows the faith put in China by Bangladesh, and it will surely mean a lot to our future cooperation,” he said.
According to clinical statistics provided by Sinopharm and the evaluation of the WHO, the efficacy rate of the vaccine is estimated to reach 79%, all age groups included.
Ambassador Li said the vaccine is recommended for adults aged 18 and older, and WHO did not indicate any upper age limit for use as data suggests that the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in elder persons.
“It is also the first vaccine carrying a vial monitor, a small sticker on the vaccine vials that changes colour with the exposure to heat, thus warning health professionals if any doses go bad,” he said.
As the Covid-19 is still wreaking a havoc on people’s lives and disturbing social and economic activities in Bangladesh, the 500 thousand doses of vaccine are arriving just in time. It is the latest outcome of China-Bangladesh anti-pandemic cooperation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for this vaccine to be rolled out globally.
The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
Bangladesh has kept up its intensified efforts to get Oxford-AstraZeneca and China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines from India, China and the United States.
The Chinese Ambassador said China proposed providing the vaccine doses as a gift on February 3 and the government of Bangladesh took three months to approve it.
He said there is a high demand of Chinese vaccines and it will take time to get vaccines through commercial purchase.
The Ambassador said Bangladesh proposed getting Chinese vaccines through commercial purchase on April 30 and Bangladesh could have got those much earlier if the decision had been taken timely.
He laid emphasis on quick and effective decisions by the government of Bangladesh on issues like vaccines.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said there is nothing to be worried about the availability of vaccines noting that the government will have enough vaccines soon from alternative sources.
“I believe we’ll have enough vaccines. No person should be worried about it. Vaccines will come timely and all will get it,” he said in a video message shared on his verified Facebook page.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is much ahead of many countries in the world in procuring vaccines and launching vaccination drives across the country.
He said many European countries decided about which vaccines they should use just in April whereas in Bangladesh many people got vaccinated.
Apart from China and Russia, Dr Momen said, there is much possibility to get vaccines from the United States.
The Foreign Minister has recently written a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking vaccine doses from the US for immediate and long-term needs.
The government has sought immediate release of 2-4 million doses of vaccine from the United States (US) and a total of 10 to 20 million doses of vaccine for the long term supply.
The US will share up to 60 million doses of its Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines vaccine with other countries as they become available.
Dr Momen said Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine showed over 97 percent efficacy while the Chinese vaccines were taken by 100 million people without any side effects.
Bangladesh has received 7 million of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) vaccines through its contract. Bangladesh also received 3.3 million doses of vaccine as a bilateral partnership gift.