Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd announced Thursday that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has delayed the first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine for private sale, giving priority to government vaccination campaigns instead. Beximco is Bangladesh’s exclusive distributor of Oxford University’s AstraZeneca intake, which SII, the world‘s largest vaccine maker, produces in bulk for low and middle income countries.
The Bangladeshi company last week received 5 million of the 30 million doses it had ordered from SII for the vaccination program in Bangladesh that begins next week.
Beximco had separately ordered 1 million cans for sale in the private market with the hope of marketing them this month.
“However, the company has now been informed by SII that the first installment (500,000 doses) of this shipment will be delayed after the delivery of vaccine doses has been prioritized over private wage use for government mass vaccination programs and WHO-led COVAX initiatives,” said the company Beximco said in a regulatory filing.
“It remains unclear how long this delay will last.”
Beximco’s chief operating officer told Reuters last month that the company could purchase up to 3 million doses of the vaccine from SII for sale in the private market at around $ 8 each.
The price is roughly double the $ 4 per dose that Beximco agreed to for the government program.
AstraZeneca was embroiled in a dispute in Europe after it announced it would end vaccine supplies there in the first quarter
WHO has called for vaccines to be distributed fairly and urged countries not to rush for supplies.