India to support Bangladesh for continuation of vaccination drive

Diplomatic Correspondent

23 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

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

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

The Indian envoy gave the assurance while replying to questions from reporters at Akhaura Land Port in Brahmanbaria. Doraiswami was returning to Dhaka from India by road after a five-day vacation. He left for India through Akhaura Land Port on April 18.

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

Bangladesh managed to get more than 10.3 million doses of vaccine 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 Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

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

The Indian envoy said India provided corona vaccines to several other countries and Bangladesh is the highest recipients among all the countries which 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 increase 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 reporters at Akhaura.

He said the second wave of coronavirus 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 the India-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 on a two-day state visit on March 26-27 to join the celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence.

 “The visit of the Indian premier to Bangladesh during the second wave of Covid-19 carries special significance of our relations,” he said adding “though we are passing through an unusual time but hopeful to overcome the crisis. Let’s pray in this month of holy Ramadan so that we can get rid of 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, he 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’ll do our best to meet everyone's needs, subject to limits of production, domestic demands, and other obligations. We’’ 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, he said, “We can only share what is actually available. And the fact is that there is a huge 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.”