Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine approved for emergency use

June 27, 2021

File photo: Vials labelled ‘Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine’ and a syringe are seen in front of the Pfizer logo in this illustration taken February 9, 2021 Reuters

Bangladesh is likely to receive 106,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in June

The health authorities on Thursday approved Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Bangladesh.

The approval comes at a time when the country is battling the second wave of the virus amid the supply shortage of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from neighbouring India.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) announced the approval through a press release after an evaluation committee recommended the emergency use of the vaccine on May 25.  

Earlier, chief of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam said that the residents of Dhaka, waiting for their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine after registering with the national vaccine registration platform Surokkha, would get the Pfizer-BioNTech shots once its first consignment arrives.

The DGDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech as the fourth Covid-19 vaccine. It approved China’s Sinopharm on April 29 and Russia’s Sputnik V on April 27.

Also Read – Covid-19: Who will get Pfizer’s jabs first?

Bangladesh started its vaccination program across the country on February 7 by administering Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

On April 25, the government suspended administering the first dose of the Covishield, just a day after India said no more vaccine doses would be shipped to Bangladesh anytime soon.

As the SII could not be able to provide the doses of vaccine they promised, a good number of people are waiting for their second jabs.

Bangladesh is supposed to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the US under the Covax facility run by the World Health Organization and Gavi in June.

According to DGDA, the two-dose vaccine will be inoculated within three to four weeks of the first jab. The vaccine’s preservation temperature ranges between -90 degrees and -60 degrees Celsius.

The vaccine, however, can remain stable for five days at 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius, while for two hours at 30 degrees Celsius, the press statement adds.

Meanwhile, China handed over 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Bangladesh as a special gift on May 12. Beijing has said that it will send another 600,000 doses of the vaccine to Dhaka.

Bangladesh started inoculating the vaccine among medical college students on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved the Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s proposal to procure the Sinopharm vaccine.

As per the approval, the Health Services Division of the ministry will procure a total of 15 million shots in the next three months — June, July and August.