Bangladesh to receive 2.5m Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses under COVAX

By | June 25, 2021

The doses are expected to arrive within seven to 10 days under global vaccine-sharing programme COVAX, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Friday.     

The government agreed to receive the doses following a proposal by the COVAX platform, co-led by the World Health Organization.  

“This is very good news at this moment,” Maleque said.

This will be the second batch of vaccine for Bangladesh under COVAX, which is expected to give the country 68 million doses, with two shots per person, to cover 20 percent of the population.

The first batch of 100,620 Pfizer-BioNTech doses under COVAX arrived on May 31 and Bangladesh on Jun 21 began administering the first doses of the vaccine experimentally.

With an efficacy rate of over 94 percent in trials, the Moderna vaccine uses the same mRNA technology as Pfizer’s shot but can be stored at normal fridge temperatures once thawed from a frozen state. Pfizer vaccine must be stored and shipped at ultra-cool temperatures.

With limited cold chain facilities, Bangladesh is administering the Pfizer at a few centres in Dhaka.

The Moderna vaccine, developed in partnership with the US National Institutes of Health, is administered in two shots 28 days apart.

It has relatively minor side effects including pain around the injection site and swelling, but the US Food and Drug Administration recently said it plans to add a warning about rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults to fact sheets for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots.

Maleque said the government is also expecting a big batch of vaccine from China. He did not reveal the volume of the batch and the arrival date.

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“There was a problem with China, now it’s over. We hope we will get some vaccines within a few days. I can’t tell you the volume, but I hope the number will be good.”  

[With Details from Reuters] 

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