Dhaka, May 31: In one year, UNICEF has delivered over 190 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh through COVAX, while the country is the top recipient of doses under COVAX.
“To date, Bangladesh remains the top recipient of doses under COVAX, the global initiative co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization, with UNICEF as a key delivery partner,” said a UNICEF press release issued on Tuesday.
COVAX accounts for more than 62 percent of doses received by the country. The goal of COVAX is to ensure equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
COVID-19 vaccinations started in Bangladesh in February 2021. UNICEF delivered the first COVAX shipment of vaccines to Bangladesh on June 1 in 2021, at a time when only four percent of the population in the country were fully vaccinated.
A year on, thanks to a strong partnership between the government, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other partners, Bangladesh has fully vaccinated with two doses 69 percent of its population – a staggering 117 million people.
“With the committed strong leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina), Bangladesh has shown incredible resilience to face the COVID-19 pandemic. With continuous supply of vaccines and hard work of dedicated health workers, we have been able to vaccinate the targeted population without wasting doses,” said Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Additional Directorate General (Planning and Development), DGHS, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
UNICEF has also supported the government’s COVID-19 response by strengthening the cold chain and ultra-cold chain, delivering critical supplies, generating demand, supporting data management and building capacity for vaccine administration. These investments will continue to serve the people of Bangladesh for years to come beyond the COVID-19 crisis. They are especially important to keep children safe from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio.
“Bangladesh’s ability to absorb and roll out COVID-19 vaccines is a testament to what can be achieved when there is political commitment and an equitable supply of vaccines. The success in getting millions of vaccines quickly and safely into arms in every corner of the country has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
A COVID-19 booster dose campaign is planned for June.
Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh, said Bangladesh with 69 percent fully vaccinated population is close to achieving the global benchmark of 70 percent fully vaccinated population by June 2022.
“The success could not have been possible without COVAX support. The ongoing pace of vaccination gives us a hope to see the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency. Let us also not forget that the pandemic is not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere” Dr Bardan said.