Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said the government has taken all-out efforts to procure Covid-19 vaccines from wherever it gets to meet the immediate requirement in Bangladesh.
He said the government is determined to continue the ongoing vaccination drive and has intensified its efforts to get vaccine from different countries, including in USA, Russia and China.Talking to reporters at his residence, Momen also highlighted that the government is not shifting its attention from India as there is an agreement with Serum Institute to get 3 crore doses of vaccine.
“India is yet to reply as Bangladesh sought at least 30 lakh doses of vaccine under the agreement to address the immediate demand in Bangladesh,” he said, adding: “We will procure vaccines from wherever we get it."
The Foreign Minister also said that the government has engaged all its efforts to get vaccine from the United States, as it will share up to 60 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with other countries.
"We are expecting to get the vaccines from the USA and our ambassador in Washington DC M Shahidul Islam is in touch with the officials concerned of the US government to get it,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller was scheduled to meet him on Thursday to update the overall issues, including supply of oxygen to Bangladesh.
In this regard, he said they came to know that currently the US is giving its priority to India and Brazil as most deaths happened in the two countries recently.Momen said the Indian diaspora is strongly lobbying with the US administration so that the US sends a whole lot of vaccines to India.
The Foreign Minister urged the Bangladeshi diaspora to approach the US government so that they feel the urgency with communication from all sides.
Momen, however, said the United States assured of making Covid-19 vaccines available for other countries, including Bangladesh, once they have surplus.
He said Bangladesh received proposals from other sources like vaccines from some European countries but their total amount of available vaccines is very small whereas Bangladesh needs 2 lakh vaccines per day.
The Foreign Minister reiterated that the Chinese government is working to start delivering 5 lakh doses of vaccine as a gift before Eid-ul-Fitr and tentative date is May 10 or 12. He said Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming recently informed them that vaccines will start arriving here before Eid.
The Foreign Minister said Russia is interested to give vaccines to Bangladesh and has sent documents to have a government-to-government agreement.