In a desperate move to continue the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, Bangladesh on Tuesday urged Canada to provide at least 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine on an emergency basis.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen made the call when the High Commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh Benoit Prefontaine called on him in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.Stating the emergency need of 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to provide second doses, he underscored that this is at present a high priority for Bangladesh.
The main point of discussion with the Canadian envoy was on the possibility of receiving AstraZeneca vaccine from Canada to meet up immediate second dose vaccine requirements in Bangladesh, said the Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Minister Momen said Bangladesh acted fast on collecting vaccine by concluding the agreement with the Serum Institute in India to procure 30 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, but now they are in a difficult situation as only 10.2 million doses of vaccine has been received from India, and the prospect of getting more is low due to the ongoing massive Covid-19 outbreak in India.
Referring to recent statement of Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand that Canadian Government might distribute excess stockpiles of AstraZeneca vaccine among developing countries, Bangladesh Foreign Minister urged the Canadian High Commissioner to pursue with his Government so that Bangladesh receives at least 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Canada on an emergency basis.
He also underscored that such supply of vaccine should be directly sent to Bangladesh, as has been done for some other countries like Pakistan, rather than through the Covax programme of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Canadian High Commissioner assured that he will follow up with Canadian Government about Bangladesh’s request to provide 2 million doses of vaccine immediately, which is also being followed up with the Canadian Government by Bangladesh High Commission in Ottawa.