by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
Bangladeshi regulators have approved emergency use of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V, paving the way for its import amid its stock shortage of Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs, according to officials.
An expert committee on Tuesday gave the green light to the Russian vaccine as Bangladesh failed to collect the doses it had been sourcing from Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine producer in the world.
“We have given the approval for the emergency use of this vaccine (Sputnik V),” said head of the Directorate General of the Drug Administration Major General Mahbubur Rahman.
With the approval, Bangladesh will now be able to import the Russian vaccine to continue its mass inoculation that began in early February with the Oxford-AstraZeneca doses.
Rahman hoped some 4 million doses of Sputnik V may be available by the end of the next month.
Bangladesh was forced to suspended the dosing on Monday over supply crunch after India said it would not be able to supply the vaccine doses due to the high domestic demand. India has been struggling to combat the worst-ever virus surge.
Bangladesh signed an agreement to import 30 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India in November and set a target a target to inoculate 15 million people by June.
But it received only 10.2 million doses, including 3.2 million doses as gift, from India, so far, and the Indian producer failing to give any decision over it in the past weeks.
Nearly 8.2 million doses have been used until Monday, according to Bangladesh’s health directorate.