DHAKA, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- "Most of our vaccine has come from China, and it's still coming. Long may it continue to arrive," Muzaherul Huq, former Southeast Asia adviser to the World Health Organization, told Xinhua recently.
"We're grateful to the Chinese government and the Chinese people. The vaccines have helped us achieve herd immunity, something we could not have done alone. Our infection rate has fallen steeply," he said.
According to the Directorate General of the Bangladeshi Health Services (DGHS), more than 90 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Bangladesh. About 57.12 million people have received at least one dose, while 35.69 million have received two.
On Nov. 20, Bangladesh had recorded zero death from COVID-19 for the first time since April 3, 2020. Both infections and deaths have fallen significantly in recent months as vaccinations increased.
Bangladesh began the vaccine rollout with Indian supplies in January but quickly ran into delivery problems. In June, the vaccination drive resumed with Chinese Sinopharm vaccines.
"The credit goes to the Chinese government and Chinese people, as well as the Bangladesh government," said Huq. "Mass vaccination would not have been possible without China."
Huq added that Bangladesh, like many countries with large populations, had been in a real crisis. "The vaccine was an acute need for us, and we were looking anywhere we could."
Bangladesh paid in advance for AstraZeneca vaccine through the Serum Institute of India, but after providing a few consignments, the Institute understandably cut supplies to meet India's domestic needs.
"We're very fortunate that China came forward with both Sinovac and Sinopharm. Our supply is reliable and we no longer have to rely on India."
Nabil Zunayed Sidny of Bangladesh's Shaheed Mansur Ali Medical College said mass vaccination helped a lot of Bangladeshi people: "I really want to thank China and Sinopharm. I would also thank the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, for her important support."
Fatalities are almost at zero in Bangladesh. "China helped Bangladesh out of a dire situation when a lot of people were dying," he said. "The situation was very tense. Our hospitals were completely packed with no beds in ICUs. Oxygen demand was extremely high. Vaccine doesn't guarantee immunity, but yes, it has saved many lives."
Mushtuq Husain, adviser to the Bangladeshi Ministry of Health, said China's contribution was of immense help to Bangladesh in sustaining its mass inoculation drive, assuring lower mortality in any future wave.
"We appreciate all of China's great contribution to our effort against the pandemic and hope our friendly cooperation will continue for years to come," said the official.