Extending thanks to the Chinese government for providing 5 lakh doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine as a gift, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said Bangladesh wants a larger amount of vaccine doses from China.
"We’re very thankful to them. We’re thankful to China. They’ve been very cooperative to us. We look forward to many more vaccine doses from China," he said.Dr Momen said China has the capacity and competency to produce vaccines on a large scale and he has no doubt that Bangladesh will get more vaccine doses as China agreed.
The Foreign Minister was addressing the vaccine handover ceremony participated by Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming.
Acknowledging China's vaccine capacity, Dr Momen also shared Bangladesh's interest to go for co-production in Bangladesh.
The vaccine doses, donated by the Chinese government to Bangladesh, arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday morning.
Dr Momen recalled a virtual meeting of six Foreign Ministers led by the Chinese Foreign Minister and mentioned that they agreed on "South Asia-China Emergency Vaccine Storage Facility."
He said if any country faces any shortage of vaccine the countries will come forward to help each other.Dr Momen explained the process that Bangladesh follows, and acknowledged that Bangladesh had some reservation at the beginning because the Chinese vaccine was not approved by the World Health Organization at that time.
"Unless approved by the WHO, we’re hesitant to use those vaccines. Because we’re very concerned about the health and wellbeing of our people," said the Foreign Minister.
He said there is no reason to blame anyone for the delay in giving approval to emergency use of Chinese vaccine shots.
Dr Momen said China has become a great friend of Bangladesh over the past years. "We look forward to having better days."
The Health Minister said China is helping Bangladesh at this time of need.
Ambassador Li said, "Today is a very special day. It's International Nurses Day. We picked up the day to handover the gift. It's a real action taken by the Chinese government to honor the commitment that vaccines will be made a global public good.”
Although facing difficulties of huge domestic demand and a tight supply of the international market, China gave priority to ensuring that the vaccine doses arrive in Bangladesh as soon as possible, and has now successfully made it a special gift of Eid Festival to the government and people of Bangladesh, which demonstrates the profound traditional friendship between the two countries, said the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, China and Bangladesh have been supporting and assisting each other to fight together against the pandemic, the Embassy said.
China has donated and is donating vaccines to 80 developing countries with urgent needs, and has provided support under COVAX for the emergency use of vaccines in developing countries.
China will continue to make joint efforts with Bangladesh to make positive contributions to Bangladesh’s endeavour of protecting human lives and fight to win the battle against the pandemic, and together to build an even closer community of shared future and health for mankind, said the Embassy.