DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh will start administering the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US firm Moderna from Tuesday, an official said.

“We are going to begin mass vaccination with Moderna’s mRNA vaccines from tomorrow, while the ongoing inoculation of Chinese Sinopharm vaccines will also be expanded,” Dr. A. S. M. Alamgir, principal scientific officer at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research at the Health Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.

The US has sent Bangladesh 2.5 million doses of the vaccine under the international vaccine supply platform COVAX. It was approved for emergency use on June 29.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque told reporters on Sunday that Bangladesh is also set to receive six million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in August.

He hoped that the Serum Institute of India resumes the stalled commercial supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines next month.

Bangladesh has so far administered over 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, covering nearly 2.6% of its population.

The country started a pilot vaccination program on Jan. 27 and a nationwide drive on Feb. 7 by administering the British-Swedish jab manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

It has been witnessing an alarming rise in coronavirus cases over the past several days. Authorities have deployed military to ensure that people stay indoors and not violate lockdown restrictions, which are in effect until July 14.

The South Asian nation recorded 230 new deaths, the highest ever single-day COVID-19 fatalities, in the past 24 hours, pushing the total figure to 16,419. The overall caseload has surpassed 1.2 million. The surge is blamed largely on the highly infectious Delta variant first detected in India.

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