Bangladesh received two million coronavirus vaccine doses from India Thursday, with the government saying it plans to start inoculating the population of 168 million people next week.
The South Asian nation was one of several countries to receive a free supply of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s Covishield vaccine from India as a gift.
The drug is being produced by India’s Serum Insitute, the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Bangladesh is buying a further 30 million doses of the vaccine and expects to receive monthly consignments of five million doses.
Impoverished Bangladesh has seen 8,000 people die from coronavirus, although the pandemic has not been as bad as feared in a country that is home to packed cities and just 600 intensive care beds.
The government plans to inoculate between 500 and 600 doctors and nurses early next week before a nationwide rollout in early February, Ministry of Health spokesman Maidul Islam Prodhan told AFP.