India to support Bangladesh for continuation of the vaccination drive

Diplomatic Correspondent

22nd April, 2021 09:08:15 printer

India to support Bangladesh for continuation of the vaccination drive

Amid apprehension of shortage of vaccine due to halt of coronavirus vaccine shipments, Indian envoy in Dhgaka Vikram Doraiswami on Thursday said India will try its best to supply of Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh.

“There is crisis of vaccine globally and the demand of vaccine is much higher than the supply,” he said adding “India will cooperate so that Bangladesh can continue its current vaccination drive.”

The Indian High Commissioner told this while replying to questions from reporters at Akhaura Land Port in Brahmanbaria on Thursday morning. Doraiswami was returning to Dhaka from India by road after a five-day vacation. He left for India through the Akhaura land port on April 18.

Doraiswami said Bangladesh received 7 million doses of vaccine under an agreement. Apart from the deal, Bangladesh additionally received 3.3 million vaccines.

Bangladesh managed to get more than 10.3 million vaccine doses from neighboring India, 3.3 million as a gift, and the rest as part of a commercial deal with the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Beximco Pharma of Bangladesh signed a deal on November 5, 2020 with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to buy 30 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca. As per the deal, India will supply 5 million doses of vaccine per month.

The Indian High Commissioner said India provided vaccine to several other countries and Bangladesh is the highest recipients among all the countries got vaccine from India.

He said there is limitation in the agreement signed between the original owners of the vaccine and manufacturing countries, including India. Now both the owner of vaccine formula and manufacturing countries are working together to enhance production and supply of vaccine.

"We cannot do more than we have. But what we can assure Bangladesh is, we will do our best to ensure that within the limit of physical production -- whatever we can share -- we will share," Doraiswami told reporter at Akhaura.

He said the second wave of COVID is much bigger and India is also facing very tough time. “We all are working together and fighting to curb the spread of the virus.

Mentioning about the India and Bangladesh relations, he said the two countries have very special relations and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh braving the second wave of Coronavirus.

Modi came to Bangladesh for a two-day state visit on March 26-27 to join the celebration of birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Independence of Bangladesh.

“The visit of the Indian Prime Minister to bangladesh during the second wave of Covid carries special significance of our relations,” he said adding “though we are passing through an unusual time but hopeful to overcome the crisis. Lets we all pray in this month of holy Ramadan so that we can get rid from this situation.”

Earlier, on his arrival at Akhaura Land Port, UNO of Akhaura Nur e Alam, OC of Akhaura and other officials welcome the Indian High Commissioner.

Meanwhile, in response to some media report misquoting the High Commissioner on Thursday, said Bangladesh has received 7 million doses through its contract plus 3.3 million as bilateral partnership gift; this is the largest amount sent from India to any country.

“We have said we would do our best to meet everyone's needs, subject to limits of production, domestic demands, and other obligations. We will continue to do our best to support the vaccine rollout in our neighborhood countries, but it is important to bear in mind that there is a huge wave of the pandemic underway in India.”

In short, it said “we can only share what is actually available. And the fact is that there is a huge amount of demand and not enough supply. As production is increased to meet the increased demand in India and globally, it will be possible to increase supplies.”