Bangladesh seeks more vaccines from India as gift

Diplomatoic Correspondent

21 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The government of Bangla-desh has taken all-out efforts to procure adequate Covid-19 vaccines for the countrymen and is maintaining constant contact with the leading vaccine manufacturing countries and others who have stockpiles.

Talking to reporters at State Guesthouse Padma on Thursday, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said they are making best efforts to get vaccines and establish contact with many countries, including the US, China, Canada, Russia and the UK, to meet the urgent needs of the vaccine for its ongoing vaccination, particularly the second dose.

Momen informed that the discussion with China, a leading manufacturing country, is almost at the final stage and the Cabinet Committee has already a proposal in principle to procure SARS COV-2 vaccines from Sinopharm in China.

“We are also expecting a positive reply from the United States on the vaccine front,” he added.

In this context, the foreign minister said there are people who could not take a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to a short supply from India.

In response to a question, he said India did never say that they will not give vaccine doses to Bangladesh but failed to deliver.

He said India was requested to provide vaccine doses to Bangladesh “as a gift” to meet its emergency need if India has an embargo on exports.

"I should say we had a very positive discussion with my Indian counterpart," Momen said.

Diplomatic sources said Bangladesh sought at least 3 million doses of vaccine on an emergency basis to meet the urgent need in Bangladesh.

Foreign Minister Abdul Momen on Tuesday phoned his Indian counterpart Dr S. Jaishankar, requesting him to ensure supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Bangladesh on an emergency basis.

Bangladesh entered into a deal with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to purchase 30 million doses of a potential vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca for Covid-19.

As per the commercial deal, Bangladesh was supposed to get five million doses of vaccine per month as the SII and Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharma signed the MoU for priority delivery of the Covishield vaccine.

India has provided Bangladesh with 7 million doses of vaccine under the commercial deal and another 3.3 million doses as “gift”.

While talking with reporters, Momen also highlighted the ongoing efforts and ongoing discussion with Russia to get Sputnik V vaccines and hoped everything will be settled within a week.

Replying to another question about vaccine from the US, he said they came to know unofficially that Bangladesh is not in the priority list of the USA because of lower number of deaths in Bangladesh. But it’s an emergency issue for Bangladesh.

US State Department Coordinator for Global COVID Response and Health Security Gayle E Smith on Wednesday at a teleconference said the United States is going to be the largest sharer of vaccines putting 80 million additional vaccines into the mix.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has sought at least 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Canada on an emergency basis to meet the urgent need of 1.6 million of its doses to provide second doses.