News Desk :
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorised two full doses of the Oxford vaccine, with the second dose to be given four to 12 weeks after the first.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people, reports BBC.
“This would cover the entire population when combined with the full order of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Meanwhile, public health experts in Bangladesh on Thursday termed the approval for Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in the UK as encouraging news and said that the approval pave the way of vaccine’s rollout in the country.
Bangladesh, last month, signed an agreement with the Serum Institute and Beximco Pharmaceuticals for availing three crore doses of Covidshield, a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford.
In the initial six months of the first phase, Serum will provide 50 lakh vaccine doses per month to Bangladesh through Beximco.
“This is great and encouraging news as we are purchasing Oxford vaccine through India’s Serum Institute,” Professor Nazrul Islam, noted Bangladeshi virologist and member of National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told The New Nation.
He added: “As the vaccine got approval in the UK, it has now become easier for us to get it. We hope this vaccine will be safe for us too as the UK, a nation with good scientific background, has approved it for using it for their people.”  
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be up to 80 per cent effective with a delay between doses – UK official
“We have to test the vaccine before mass use or need to take permission from any developed nations as per our vaccine policy.  UK is a developed country, so we can use the Oxford vaccine on emergency basis. Besides, we can use the vaccine here on the basis of UK approval as WHO nod might take time,” the virologist added.
Commenting on the issue, Professor Sayedur Rahman, chairman of Department of Pharmacology in BSMMU, said, “The vaccine developed by Oxford is good for countries like ours as it is relatively cheaper and can be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees centigrade.”
AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot Wednesday said the Covid-19 vaccine approved by Britain should be effective against the new variant of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom, reported Reuters.
“Our belief at this point is that this vaccine should be effective against the variant,” he told BBC radio.
Vaccination worldwide
Earlier this month, USA and Europe launched their vaccination drives to check further spread of the pandemic with new strain adding to the worries.
Russia has initiated the drive with its own Sputnik V after voluntary online registration, while China administered its own vaccines to at least one million people after approval for “emergency use.”  China plans to start opening its vaccination programme to members of the public in February.
The EU began its marathon mass vaccine rollout for 446 million people in 27 countries. They have chosen the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to start with.
The EU has secured contracts for more than two billion vaccine doses from a range of drug companies. The bloc, badly hit by the Covid-19 second wave, plans to complete distribution of 200 million doses across all member countries by next September.
USA also initiated its largest ever immunisation campaign and aimed to reach 100 million people by April, while more than 130,000 people were vaccinated in the first week of the UK’s vaccination programme in the second week of this month.
Pfizer / BioNTech jab has been the common choice in both US and UK so far.
India expects to begin vaccinating people against Covid-19 in January, with a target to apply to 300 million people by early August. The Covishield, also known as Oxford vaccine and India’s own Covaxin have been among their key choices.


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