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‘No side-effects of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine found in Bangladesh’

No side-effects of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has so far been found in Bangladesh, said Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen on Wednesday (May 8).

The health minister stated it while replying to a question of a reporter after attending a seminar on how to stregthen the vaccination programmes to ensure universal health care at CIRDAP Auditorium in the capital on Wednesday (May 8).

“We have not found any case of side-effects after injecting AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh. I have given a directive to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to submit a report after surveying on the side effects of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. I would not be able to say anything else until I know about the side effects of this vaccine. However, we are cautious about it,” he said.

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it had initiated the worldwide withdrawal of its Covid-19 vaccine due to a “surplus of available updated vaccines” since the pandemic.

Earlier, speaking at the seminar, Dr Samanta Lal Sen said Bangladesh has made outstanding successes in expansion of vaccination coverage across the country.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been conferred with the prestigious “Vaccine Hero” award in recognition of Bangladesh’s outstanding success in vaccination,” he said.

President of Jatiya Press Club Farida Yasmin, Deputy Representative to UNICEF in Bangladesh Emma Brigham, Healthcare professionals, representatives from different local and international organizations, among others, addressed the programme with Chairman of Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing Prof Dr. Md Abdul Aziz MP in the chair.

Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and well-being organised the programme titled “High Level meeting for strengthening immunization programme for achieving universal health coverage”.

The health minister said like success of vaccination coverage, Bangladesh also made remarkable progress in the health sector in the past 15 years as the Awami League-led government has implemented massive development programmes in the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is firmly committed to bring all children under the vaccination coverage, he said.

“Despite shortage of manpower, all healthcare professionals are sincerely working to fulfill the commitment of the Prime Minister. We are taking initiatives to recruit adequate number of healthcare professionals.”

Emma Brigham said: “Vaccines are among the greatest advances in global health and development. It is the safest and most cost-effective method to save children’s lives and Bangladesh is no stranger to its success story.”

She said it has already been 45 years since Bangladesh launched the Expanded Programme on Immunization and the programme has propelled significant immunization efforts in Bangladesh, now reaching 84 per cent of infants with full childhood vaccines.