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Bangladesh receives first COVID-19 vaccine consignment from India

A special Air India flight carrying the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine co-manufactured by Serum Institute of India reached the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport earlier in the day to be initially stored at a warehouse of private Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd ahead of their planned countrywide distribution.

January 25, 2021 / 03:37 PM IST
Both the vaccines approved in India, Covishield and Covaxin, are required to be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degree celsius. (Representative image: Reuters)

Both the vaccines approved in India, Covishield and Covaxin, are required to be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degree celsius. (Representative image: Reuters)

Bangladesh on Monday received the first consignment of the 5 million doses of Covishield vaccines from India under a procurement agreement, four days after New Delhi gifted 2 million doses of the vaccine to Dhaka.

A special Air India flight carrying the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine co-manufactured by Serum Institute of India reached the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport earlier in the day to be initially stored at a warehouse of private Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd ahead of their planned countrywide distribution.

Bangladesh has so far purchased 30 million doses from the Serum Institute of India through private Beximco pharmaceuticals under a tripartite agreement.

The vaccines are being transported to Beximco warehouses in Tongi on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka in special freezer vans, Beximco Pharma''s managing director Nazmul Hassan told reporters after receiving the consignment at the airport.

Health officials said the government experts would check the vaccine samples to see if any temperature fluctuation affected their efficacy and the expiry dates.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Beximco Pharma will send the vaccines to civil surgeons at all of the 64 (administrative) districts after obtaining certificates from the Drug Administration," a health ministry statement said.

Bangladesh is expected to get 50 lakh of vaccines every month from India in the coming months, Health minister Zahid Maleque said earlier. Bangladesh will start the nationwide COVID-19 vaccine distribution from early February.

Officials say they have formed 7,344 distribution teams comprising six health workers while about 42,000 health workers are being trained. Bangladesh has reported more than 532,000 coronavirus cases so far with over 8,000 deaths.

India is one of the world''s biggest drugmakers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.

In the last few days, India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.
PTI
first published: Jan 25, 2021 03:38 pm

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