DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh has approved the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration allowed Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd to procure doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing the vaccine.

An agreement between the Bangladesh Health Ministry, Beximco Pharma and SII was signed last month to purchase 30 million doses.

“We issued a No Objection Certificate for the import, and emergency use of the vaccine to initiate inoculation at the earliest,” Ayub Hossain, a spokesperson for the drug regulatory agency in Bangladesh, told Anadolu Agency.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that immunization in Bangladesh will begin “in a timely manner,” and that India will honor its commitment made at the highest level. The doses are expected to start arriving in the ongoing month.

Bangladesh has also signed with the UN’s COVAX Facility, which will deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines to 172 countries by the end of 2021.

The South Asian country of 165 million people has so far registered 517,920 infections, and 7,670 related deaths.

Coronavirus vaccination campaign has already begun in many EU countries, the US, UK, China and Russia, among others. More than 13 million doses have been administered in 40 countries, according to Our World in Data, a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.

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